January 25, 2021 (readings)
- Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, Apostle
- Fr. James Swanson, LC
Jesus appeared to the Eleven and said to them: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned. These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages. They will pick up serpents with their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
Opening Prayer: Lord, I am in constant need of conversion. Help me to pray well so that, like St. Paul, I will radiate Christ with my entire life.
1. A Greater Experience Than the Apostles’: Our life is meant to be a proclamation of the Gospel to every living creature. The apostles experienced Jesus in their daily living with him. We experience him too—in our prayer, when we read the inspired words of Scripture, when we practice charity toward the least of my brothers and sisters. We also experience him in the sacraments, especially the Eucharist which is a deeper and more intimate experience than anything the apostles had up until the Last Supper.
2. A Transforming Encounter: This experience of Christ should transform us. We should be different from people who haven’t experienced Christ. How is it possible for someone who has received the living God himself in the Eucharist–even if it was only one time–how is it possible for that person to be unchanged?
3. Serve God, Serve Others: It is a great disgrace that Christians cannot easily be distinguished from non-Christians. Our experience of Christ should make us so different that whenever someone walks into a room, he or she should be able to tell who the Christians are within a few minutes. That doesn’t mean that we have to be talking about Christ all the time. It means that our life should be so transformed by reception of the Eucharist, and our other experiences of Christ, that he shines out in our actions, as he did in the first disciples.
Conversing with Christ: Lord, help me to stop resisting you. There are so many things in my life that compete with you for first place that you cannot show your goodness through me. Help me to see that until I open my heart to you entirely, I cannot be a saint—I cannot be a good person or even a nice person. Let me stop serving myself and dedicate myself to serving you and others.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will do something that is uncomfortable for me, something I would rather not do, but something that will allow you to reach those around me.
For Further Reflection: Radiating Christ by Father Raoul Plus, SJ.
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