A bit of theology for us all to ponder…
St Paul was a scholar and great protector of the Jewish faith as we know perfectly well. His ardent belief that salvation from comes from the Jews was something that he would not ever put aside so much so that he persecuted the growing Church of Christ to the point of even being present at the stoning of the proto-martyr, Saint Stephen. The end of the story is well known: Saul, (his birth name) experiences a conversion experience during which time Jesus asks him why he is persecuting Him. Saul doesn’t know how to respond but slowly, his birth and appreciation of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus is something that he embraces and boldly proclaims to all the world.
In the second reading we hear proclaimed this 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time from Saint Paul’s Letter to the Romans is a declaration of sorts, on St Paul’s behalf, that he has realized his purpose in life, namely, to not preach Jesus Christ the crucified to the Jewish People…that is St Peter’s job…but to preach to the Gentiles, those who are not a part of the Jewish People. Ironic that the itinerant Jewish scholar would so boldly preach and teach a message to a people he once could have cared about. He preaches Jesus to those who are outside his comfort zone, he preaches to those who worship false gods, whatever they may be.
What about us? Have we embraced and accepted our baptismal call to preach and teach to all the nations? Each of us has a sacred duty, that is right, both lay and ordained, to share the message of Christ. To proudly and boldly proclaim Him as Lord of our lives. To live our Christian faith in such a way that each and every person with whom we come into contact will have no doubt where our allegiance lies.
We are very fortunate, dear friends, to be able to practice our faith without any sort of fear. We have no worries about being arrested for going to Church on a Sunday morning or visiting the Church during the week. We have a Constitution which protects our rights to worship freely and to share that message with those in need. Perhaps embracing the faith and sharing it like Saint Paul is something we can strive to do…Jesus always reminds His Disciples, “do not be afraid!” What gets in the way of us being as steadfast as St Paul? Whatever it is, may the Eucharist help us to shed that fear so that we too can be like St Paul and proclaim Jesus Christ is Lord!!!