19 - Jesus appears to Saul (Paul)

O sing to the Lord a new song

All        for he has done marvellous things.  Alleluia.

 

Bible reading – Acts 9:1-18

Meanwhile Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. 3Now as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’ 5He asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ The reply came, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 6But get up and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.’ 7The men who were travelling with him stood speechless because they heard the voice but saw no one. 8Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9For three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

10Now there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, ‘Ananias.’ He answered, ‘Here I am, Lord.’ 11The Lord said to him, ‘Get up and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul. At this moment he is praying, 12and he has seen in a vision* a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.’ 13But Ananias answered, ‘Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints in Jerusalem; 14and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who invoke your name.’ 15But the Lord said to him, ‘Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel; 16I myself will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.’ 17So Ananias went and entered the house. He laid his hands on Saul* and said, ‘Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.’ 18And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and his sight was restored. Then he got up and was baptized.


Reflection

Saul hated the first Christians and everything they stood for.  They were a dangerous corruption of the Hebrew faith and were to be stamped out before they led too many astray.  He held the coats of those who stoned to death the first Christian martyr, Stephen.  We can presume that in order to refute this new fangled faith he had to understand what it said.  This seems to have played on his mind and it wouldn’t let go.  As with the first apostles he took a while for the pieces to fall in place.  The catalyst appears to have come on a journey to Damascus with murderous intent.  His conversion was dramatic and a shock to all, not least the very people he had been persecuting.  If Saul can change his heart, anyone can.  No one is beyond the reach of this resurrected Lord, whatever they may be doing or saying.

 

Risen Lord,

you appeared to Saul

and turned his life from hatred to love.

Transform the poverty of our nature

and fire us with passion to tell of your wonders.  Amen.

  

Response

            Sing to the Lord, bless his name

All        tell of his salvation from day to day.  Alleluia.

 

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