JUBILEE YEAR OF ST. PAUL (2008/6/28 - 2009/6/29)
This year the Catholic Church celebrate the second millennium of the birth of St. Paul.
Throughout this jubilee year we are encouraged to study the life of this august Apostle and learn to be witnesses to the risen Lord.
At the beginning of his letter to he Romans, Paul introduces himself as "a servant of Christ Jesus, and an Apostle chosen and called by God to preach his Good News".
Paul knows he was "chosen to be an Apostle", that is, that he has not presented himself as a candidate, nor was his a human appointment, but solely by a divine call and election.
Before the divine call, he was a convinced and zealous Pharisee. His profound conviction made his zeal develop into a religious fanaticism against the church. He was among those who approved of the stoning of the first martyr, St. Stephen (Acts 7,60). That very day was the beginning of a time of violent persecution for the Church in Jerusalem. Saul (Paul) tried to destroy the infant church of Christ." entering house after house and dragging out men and women, he committed them to prison" (Acts 8,3).
He kept up his murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord. Entrusted with a formal mission from the High Priest, he departed for Damascus to arrest all the Christians there and bring them bound to Jerusalem. As he was nearing Damascus, about noon, a light from heaven suddenly blazed round him. Jesus with His glorified Body appeared to him and addressed him, turning him away from his apparently successful career. An immediate transformation was wrought in the soul of Paul. He was suddenly converted to the Christian faith and arose an Apostle (Acts 9,3-19; 22,6-16; 26,12-18).
In his letter to the Galatians (1,13-16) he tells us about his past life and his conversion to the Christian faith.
"You have heard what my manner of life was when I was a practicing jew. : how savagely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. I was ahead of most fellow Jews of my age in my practice of the jewish religion. I was much more devoted to the traditions of our ancestors…But God, in His Grace, chose me even before I was born, and called me to reveal His Son to me, so that I might preach the Good News among the Gentiles."
Paul's letters show us that God is working in our present lives to transform us and our world.
to be continued...