From the Pastor January 22, 2017

3rd Sunday

in Ordinary Time – A


My next reflection on the 50 Saints with an Obligatory
Memorial and full set of orations is the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul the Apostle
, honored on January 25. The record of Saint Paul’s conversion
is recorded THREE times in the Bible: Acts: 9:1-2222:1-30 – and 26:1-23. Read them to see each version’s slight variations … and to answer the trivia question: what color was the horse
Saint Paul
was knocked off of by the blinding Light, who was Jesus. [Keep reading to get the answer!]


Collect – The Conversion of Saint Paul the Apostle


O God, who taught the whole world through the preaching of the blessed Apostle Paul,

draw us, we pray, nearer to you through

the example of him whose conversion we celebrate today, and so make us witnesses

to your truth in the world.

Through our Lord … for ever and ever. Amen.


It is often said that given his sinful past, Saint Paul
would never get ordained in today’s Church! For he publicly condemned the Church, oversaw – and condoned – the stoning of our first martyr, Saint Stephen the Deacon, and did all he could to thwart, hinder and destroy the infant Church. He had men, women – and even children – bound in chains and put on trial – simply for being baptized! Can you imagine what the Vocation Board or Seminary would say to a candidate with Saint Paul’s
credentials? But for the grace of God … and the eventual trust of the other ‘original’ Apostles – Saint Paul’s conversion
was accepted as valid, and he was baptized [the ONLY Apostle whose Baptism is mentioned in the Bible!], admitted to the Apostolic band … and the rest is history. Which gives great hope to any and every REPENTANT sinner!


Prayer over the Offerings – Conversion of Saint Paul


As we celebrate the divine mysteries, O Lord,

we pray, may the Spirit fill us with

that light of faith with which he constantly enlightened the blessed Apostle Paul

for the spreading of your glory.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


The future Apostle had so much going for him; known by the Hebrew or Jewish name Saul, he was a well-educated Pharisee or scholar of Jewish law; his knowledge of what we now call the Old Testament was second to none. Scripture suggests that through his father he was a Roman citizen, and with the Latin name Paul, he had civic and social perks and privileges no other original Apostle enjoyed. His many travels show he was a robust, healthy man who could support himself as a tentmaker. He seemed to suffer from poor vision or eyesight, but his worst liability was lacking the Light of Faith that comes to us in Christ Jesus our Lord.


Once Saint Paul
opened his eyes and mind, his heart and soul to the divine revelation offered by the Risen Lord … he used all his assets for the sake of the Gospel. We would do well to imitate his openness to God’s Word as revealed in Scripture and Church Teaching … and to use all our assets to promote the Good News.


Prayer after Communion – Conversion of Saint Paul


May the Sacrament we have received,

O Lord our God, stir up in us that fire of charity

with which the blessed Apostle Paul

burned ardently as he bore his concern

for all the Churches.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.



How pained Saint Paul must be by the divisions that now mar Christ’s Body, His Church! In Letter after Letter Saint Paul
pleaded, to the point of tears, for unity and conformity to the essentials of the Faith, and for charitable, peaceful co-existence among those who differ on non-essential issues. During the annual ‘Week of Prayer for Christian Unity’ [01/18 – 01/25] we must pray for and model these two ideals: unity on core teachings; acceptance on all optional teachings.


Now it’s time to stop horsing around: the Bible never mentions a horse; it simply says Saul/Paul was knocked to the ground while he was on the road to Damascus … so he was probably just walking! Saint Paul the Apostle, pray for us and all who need to be converted.


In His holy Name,




Rev. Thomas J. Serafin, KHS