Today’s Thoughts: When I read the accounts in today’s first reading from the Acts of the Apostles about the things that happened after St. Stephen’s death. I am always caught by the fact that even though Saul was hell bent on destroying the Church God was able to change his heart and lead him to become the great Apostle Paul. It gives me hope that someone so focused on the negative, so wanting to destroy, so against the presence of some people in the world was able to become a person of joy, of peace, of love and of hope.
God did not fight Saul’s attack on his Church with vengeance, with force, with power, with war. God did not seek to destroy Saul. God did not seek to judge Saul. No God dealt with Saul’s attack through truth, compassion, love and with an invitation to be a part of the community. Somehow with words of kindness, with words of compassion, with words and gestures of love God turned Saul’s heart and created someone new Paul.
Often as we encounter our world and all its problems we think we must fight, we think that we must eliminate our enemies. We think that making fun of them, that degrading them with our words, that attacking them with half-truths, cartoons and witty jokes we will overcome them. We think that pointing to their faults and failings, that being hurtful we are doing God’s will and that we will win the battle and the war.
Yet, God has always showed us that power, vengeance and war never works. These are not the solutions to our problems or the avenues to peace. In Saul’s case God invited him to become part of the community. God invited Saul to see God in his life in a different way. God invited Saul to choose life not death. God invited Saul to a change of heart. God invited Saul to be a man of hope and love. God turn Saul’s energy of violence and hate into an energy of love, compassion, hope, mercy, joy and peace.
If we truly want our world, our culture, our society to change then perhaps rather than waging war, rather than fearing those we see as enemies, rather than attacking, rather than dismissing or making fun of those we don’t like, we should invite them into the conversation. We should extend the hand of friendship. We should invite them to be part of the community. We should show them the value of faith, hope and love. We should help them to see the light of life!
Have a great Wednesday everyone!
Fr. Paul R. Fagan, C.P. "Preacher on the Run"
Just a few thoughts to help you on your journey through life...let me know from time to time what you think...