August 26, 2019 | Fr. Claude Lombardo, MC
Saul was a passionate and committed Pharisee who had decided to put an end to the new “heresy” of Christianity. He asked for permission from the religious authority and headed to Damascus with great determination to capture and put in jail all the followers of Jesus Christ.
However, God’s plan for him was very different. Jesus Himself encountered Saul in the middle of the road and worked one of the most beautiful and effective conversions. Saul, why do you persecute me! –Who are you!? –I’m Jesus, whom you are persecuting. At that transcendental instant, the proud Pharisee, wounded in his heart by the darts of the love of the Lord, peacefully surrendered. -Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do, Jesus said.
I wonder why Jesus did not finish the work Himself, when He had worked this wonderful conversion Himself? The Lord wanted to show that He wants to depend on us for His work of evangelization. He could do everything Himself, but He doesn’t want that. He wants to count on us for this. What a mystery! What an honor!
Let us reflect on our responsibility regarding our neighbors in the light of this story. We can and we must help the Lord to reach out to our friends and family members. On certain occasions, if we are ashamed or selfish and we don’t share the Good News with a particular person next to us, perhaps there won’t be many other opportunities for them to enjoy the beauty of Jesus’ friendship. Let us be generous in communicating all the good things that we have freely received.
Frequently, there’s a strong and hidden power that prevents us from evangelizing. I’m talking about the fear of failure, the fear of being rejected, ridiculed, or judged. In the work of apostolate, the Lord doesn’t ask us for victories, but for scars. It’s much better to have one hundred “fails”, not being able to convince anyone, than to stay in our comfortable zone without even trying. In fact, it is not my work, but His work! Saul planted, Apollos watered, but the Lord made it grow! Do not be afraid, do your part, and the Lord will do the rest.