This Sunday I decided to major on the first reading from Acts – the conversion of Saint Paul – rather than the gospel reading. Here’s what I said.
Where would we be if Jesus had decided to do background checks, or even criminal record checks, on those he wanted to be his apostles? Would he have appointed them? Or would he have decided that they weren’t suitable candidates for the job?
After the resurrection the eleven – the original twelve minus Judas Iscariot – had been keeping their heads down because they were fearful of the Jewish authorities. Whether they had actually done anything that the authorities deemed to be criminally wrong we shall never know because Acts doesn’t tell us, but they may well have had their names on an official blacklist. Paul, of course, is a different matter. Paul – or Saul as he was originally known – was, to be blunt, not a particularly nice person when we first come across him. He is a religious zealot, hounding followers of Jesus and putting them to death simply because he didn’t agree with their religious beliefs. He wants every follower of Jesus off the streets. Continue reading