As I shared from yesterday’s scripture readings, I must really be attentive to God’s Word and not just glaze over it. Today’s first reading actually has a choice of two readings, the first from Acts 22 which is Paul’s own words of his conversion and the second from Acts 9 which is St. Luke’s writing of Paul’s conversion.
It is an amazing conversion going from a man named Saul, a devout Jew and lover of God, who wanted to protect the Jewish faith and his people from these crazy people following this Jesus in a group called “The Way.” He persecutes them and does whatever he thinks necessary to stop The Way. He has a conversion experience with Jesus, gets baptized and becomes a great evangelist for The Way known as St. Paul.
Paul’s conversion was amazing but so was mine in its own way. My wife, 10 years into our marriage, knew that we really needed a shot in the arm. She found out about a Marriage Encounter Weekend. When I asked her what she wanted for her birthday, she said, the ME Weekend. I reluctantly agreed but told her that if they tried to force God down my throat, I was leaving.
That weekend changed my life, her life and the lives of my two children. I fell so in love with Jesus. After the weekend, I studied with a priest and on the Easter Vigil the next year at the age of 33, I received four Sacraments. I was Baptized with my two children, Confirmed, received First Communion and my wife and I were Married in the Church.
It has taken me on my journey, many ups and downs to come to realize that as much as I would like to evangelize like St. Paul, I am not him. I am me, adopted child of God, a great sinner and trying to be holy. But, I’m learning that a big part of evangelizing is telling our stories so maybe today, I did a little evangelizing. I can only hope that we all come fully to Jesus. I believe that he is calling us with his arms open ready to shower us with his love and mercy.
I hope you all have a very blessed week!
Mike Burke; Monday, January 25, 2016