What is your call in life? What is my call in life? As a Christian man (and woman), our call should be the same. We are to bring the good news of Christ – the He became man, dwelt among us, cured the sick, forgave the sinner, was crucified and hung on the Cross for expiation of our sins, died for us, rose from the dead and is now seated at the right hand of God. Pretty simple stuff eh. If only. Today we celebrate how coming into the Light of Christ is so powerful and can literally change the world. Today Mother Church celebrates the Conversion of Paul the Apostle.
Saul was a fierce man AGAINST the new WAY…
Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord,
went to the high priest and asked him
for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, that,
if he should find any men or women who belonged to the Way,
he might bring them back to Jerusalem in chains.
But then the light of Christ surrounded him…
“On that journey as I drew near to Damascus,
about noon a great light from the sky suddenly shone around me.
I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me,
‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’
I replied, ‘Who are you, sir?’
And he said to me,
‘I am Jesus the Nazorean whom you are persecuting.’
My companions saw the light
but did not hear the voice of the one who spoke to me.
I asked, ‘What shall I do, sir?’
The Lord answered me, ‘Get up and go into Damascus,
and there you will be told about everything
appointed for you to do.’
Since I could see nothing because of the brightness of that light,
I was led by hand by my companions and entered Damascus.
Saul gave himself fully to his conversion. Paul received the light of Christ and went on to preach the Good NEWS…
He stayed some days with the disciples in Damascus,
and he began at once to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues,
that he is the Son of God.
All who heard him were astounded and said,
“Is not this the man who in Jerusalem
ravaged those who call upon this name,
and came here expressly to take them back in chains
to the chief priests?”
But Saul grew all the stronger
and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus,
proving that this is the Christ.
We have ALL been called to that same conversion. I believe that is the point of our Gospel this morning, taken from the conclusion of Mark’s Gospel – the Good News. And as you’ll see, it isn’t just Mark that ends his Gospel in this manner, but Matthew, Luke and John too…
from Mark: Go into the whole world
and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved;
whoever does not believe will be condemned.
from Matthew: Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.19 h Go, therefore,* and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, 20 i teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.* And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”
from Luke: Then he led them [out] as far as Bethany, raised his hands, and blessed them.51 As he blessed them he parted from them and was taken up to heaven .52 They did him homage and then returned to Jerusalem with great joy,d 53 and they were continually in the temple praising God.
from John: Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.”28* q Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!”29 * Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me?r Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”
Conclusion.*30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of [his] disciples that are not written in this book. s31 But these are written that you may [come to] believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name.t
Do something great for our Lord today – proclaim His Good News to anyone and everyone. Blessed are you who have not seen and believe.
God’s will, not mine, be done.
Be not afraid; just have faith.
Jesus, I trust in You.
He must increase; I must decrease.
Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.
But you man of God chose righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness. Compete well for the faith.