Today’s first Mass reading is one I never tire of hearing or praying with: the conversion of Saul.
You have to admit that if you or I were choosing members for the “good guy” team, Saul would not be high on our list. This is not someone who is merely harmlessly misguided, not just a slackard with no appetite for serious prayer and deepening his life with God, not just a bumbler who doesn’t have a clear sense of the road forward.
Saul is a murderous persecutor of Christians. He stands by watching Stephen stoned to death because of Stephen’s proclamation of his faith in Christ. At the beginning of today’s first Mass reading from Acts, Saul, “still breathing murderous threats” against Jesus’ disciples, “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 arrest them.
Yet what does God tell the incredulous Ananais, who can’t believe God is asking him to find Saul, lay hands on him and restore his sight? “This man is a chosen instrument of mine.”
We are constantly reminded in our Scripture that God has plans for everyone. That God sees in a way we don’t and invites all to participate in his plan for salvation. His choices sometimes leave people scratching their heads, whether it is the anointing of Jesse’s youngest son David or Jesus’ call of the tax collector Matthew.
No one gets left out of God’s plan.
The question to ask yourself is: what does it mean to me to know I am a chosen instrument of God’s? What does it feel like to hear God say to you: You are a chosen instrument of mine.