Saturday 7 February 2015

Friday of the 3rd Week of Easter

Who would have thought that a person, after having been so wicked, mean and nasty towards Christians, could be converted? Who would have imagined that such a person could be transformed from being an ardent persecutor of the Way to an ardent promoter and defender of the Way? Some of us would have thought that such a person was beyond hope or redemption, and some would have been quite hesitant to believe when they hear that such a person had been converted. After all, news of such a person being converted could have been a trap, designed to flush Christians out from their hiding places so that they could be easily captured and imprisoned.

However, today's reading shows us that such a conversion is possible. Before Saul could enter Damascus to carry out his evil plan, God intervened and caused Saul to fall onto the ground and became blind. Then Ananias (whose name means that the Lord is gracious or that the Lord is compassionate) was commanded by the Lord to go to Saul, lay his hands on him and give Saul back his sight. Ananias was naturally quite hesitant to do so, since he had heard the terrible things and horror stories of what Saul had done. But the Lord replied, "You must go all the same, because this man is my chosen instrument to bring my name before pagans and pagan kings and before the people of Israel; I myself will show him how much he himself must suffer for my name." With this assurance from God, Ananias did what he was told. He trusted in God's care and providence and because of this, we see the depths of the graciousness and compassion of God, and we also see the beginnings of an amazing preacher and defender of the Way, Saul who became St. Paul of Tarsus.

What does this incident tell us? Some of us may think that those who persecute us or created tremendous problems for us would get their just rewards. But sometimes the kind of reward such people would get could be quite different from what we expect. Who knows? Such people may be converted just like Saul, and become champions of the Christian faith. We just need to trust in God's care and providence, since He work wonders far beyond what we could ever imagine.

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