May 2, 2021
We have all heard the story about the conversion of Saul on the road to Damascus.
It is important to remember that, as a youth, Saul (Paul) studied Mosaic law and he did become a rabbi.
We know, too, that he persecuted the early Christians, and thought that Christianity needed to be overcome.
He began preaching Christianity after his conversion, and finally went to Jerusalem to join up with the disciples.
Needless to say, the disciples of Christ were all afraid of him because of his persecution of Christians in the beginning, before his conversion.
This certainly is a story of conversion, and also a story of how God can work in each of our lives today. At times we may think it is impossible for us to change, and that's exactly what they thought of St. Paul.
But the story of Saint Paul is also a story for each of us to give us courage. We all know that nothing is impossible with God.
This letter, written to the early Christian communities gives us, today, the same message... that our Christian faith is not just not just in our words, but is must be also in our actions.
The gospel reading is an excerpt from the farewell address that Jesus delivered at the Last Supper on the eve before his death.
His words were to encourage and help them to persevere after his Passion and Death.
He encouraged them to stay close to his teachings, and in effect to stay close to him.
Jesus gave his disciples the image of the need to stay connected to Him and to his teachings. He is the vine and we the branches.
Jesus was willing to give his life for the other, and that same call comes for each of us every day, even when we are dealing with difficult or even impossible people.
We are called to love the other with our patience, our understanding, our compassion, our forgiveness, even to the enemy.
This is a good time for each of us to look and see in the events that happen today; are we staying connected to the vine with our love for the other or have we separated ourselves and are only thinking of ourselves first?
For sure, there will be moments we fail at this, but that is not the time to give up. It is a time to pray for our own conversion, our own wake up call.