Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, Apostle
First Reading | Acts 22:3-16 (or Acts 9:1-22)
Paul’s testimony is amazing as it is true. It is difficult to understand how he must have felt when, from being a persecutor of Christians, he became one of the greatest apologists and preachers of the faith. Paul’s conversion symbolizes the power of the Holy Spirit to achieve anything He has set out to do. May we allow the grace of conversion work within us today.
3 Paul addressed the people in these words: “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city. At the feet of Gamaliel I was educated strictly in our ancestral law and was zealous for God, just as all of you are today. 4 I persecuted this Way to death, binding both men and women and delivering them to prison. 5 Even the high priest and the whole council of elders can testify on my behalf. For from them I even received letters to the brothers and set out for Damascus to bring back to Jerusalem in chains for punishment those there as well. 6 “On that journey as I drew near to Damascus, about noon& a great light from the sky suddenly shone around me. 7 I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ 8 I replied, ‘Who are you, sir?’ And he said to me, ‘I am Jesus the Nazorean whom you are persecuting.’ 9 My companions saw the light but did not hear the voice of the one who spoke to me. 10 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.’ 11 Since I could see nothing because of the brightness of that light, I was led by the hand by my companions and entered Damascus. 12 “A certain Ananias, a devout observer of the law, and highly spoken of by all the Jews who lived there, 13 came to me and stood there and said, ‘Saul, my brother, regain your sight.’ And at that very moment, I regained my sight and saw him. 14 Then he said, ‘The God of our ancestors designated you to know his will, to see the Righteous One, and to hear the sound of his voice; 15 for you will be his witness before all to what you have seen and heard. 16 Now, why delay? Get up and have yourself baptized and your sins washed away, calling upon his name.'”
Responsorial Psalm | Psalm 117:1, 2
R: Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
1 Praise the Lord, all you nations; glorify him, all you peoples! (R) 2 For steadfast is his kindness toward us, and the fidelity of the Lord endures forever. (R)
Gospel | Mark 16:15-18
Paul’s mission was to take the Gospel message of salvation wherever he could. This is our calling, too. The world has heard the Gospel centuries ago, but it seems conversion is needed throughout Europe and other countries in the West. Let us listen to God’s Word and discern what our role will be in evangelizing a growing secular society. There is hope because, with God, we will prevail in the end.
I chose you from the world, to go and bear fruit that will last, says the Lord.
15 Jesus appeared to the Eleven and said to them: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages. 18 They will pick up serpents with their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”