I was struck this morning by the conjoining of the two readings for today’s Mass on this celebration of the conversion of St. Paul. The first reading is one of the two accounts of the conversion contained in Act’s – this one, the first person recounting of the event by Paul. The Gospel is Mark’s account of Jesus’ final appearance to his disciples.
Paul’s account ends with Ananias telling Paul, “you will be his witness before all to what you have seen and heard.” And Jesus last words to his disciples are his instructions that they “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.”
We are reminded over and over again that the “sending out” did not stop at the Apostles. Yesterday at the final session of the series on the Creed I’ve been offering at Our Lady of Lourdes, we discussed our belief in the “holy, catholic, apostolic Church. As the apostles were sent out, so was Paul, and so are we.
The sending out of Paul – the former persecutor of Christians – reminds us that God does not only call the best, the head of the class. Over and over again, God surprises us by the fact that he invites even those we would not think of as being on the invitation list.