Friday, July 24, 2020

Changing Sides

Changing Sides (or) Breaking the Streak
I have never based a Liturgical Note on the writings of St. Paul because what we hear at mass:
  1.  is only a snippet of a deep philosophical argument
  2.  doesn’t relate to the other readings
  3.  contains densely worded run-on sentences 

The streak is over.

“I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us.”   Romans 8:18
Most of what I know about Paul comes from the story of his conversion on the Road to Damascus.  (Acts, Chapter 9) Don't feel bad if you can't recall much.  It is proclaimed in church once every three years, on the third Friday after Easter.  

Rather than repeat the story, I offer Paul’s description of himself.  It is taken from his testimony before Ananias, the High Priest and Felix, the Roman Governor.  Paul is on trial for preaching about Christ and has spent the last 2 year in jail.

“I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city. (Jerusalem) At the feet of Gamaliel (an esteemed Pharisee) I was educated strictly in our ancestral law and was zealous for God, just as all of you are today.  I persecuted this Way (Christianity) to death, binding both men and women and delivering them to prison.”    Acts 22: 3-4

The Saul who was a driving force in the martyrdom Stephan and countless unnamed Christians has changed sides.  

His sword has been replaced with something more powerful. 
“To know (Christ) and the power of his resurrection and [the] sharing of his sufferings…”  Philippians 3:10  

The one who caused paralyzing fear among the Apostles is now calling then to hold fast to the promise of Christ.  

I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us.”  Romans 8:18 

These words have brought me comfort and hope.  I pray they bring the same to you.

See you soon,

Bruce

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