Daily Reflection
May 9th, 2003
Tom Shanahan, S.J.
University Relations and the Theology Department
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.

Acts 9:1-20
Psalm 117:1, 2
John 6:52-59

In today’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles there is the famous story of “Saul” (later, St. Paul) on the road to Damascus.  Saul had the cruel intention of hunting down for imprisonment those men or women who belonged to the Way, the name for the earliest followers of Christ.  As he was near Damascus this day, a light from the sky flashed around him and he fell to the ground.  At the same time he heard the words, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”  Saul asked, “Who are you, sir?” and the reply came back, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.”   Saul, blinded by the light proceeded to the city to await further instructions.  A disciple of Jesus in Damascus by the name of Ananias came and laid his healing hands on Saul and he was cured of his blindness.  After his recovery he was baptized and, filled with the Holy Spirit, he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues all around the known world.  He became the “Apostle to the Gentiles.”

What is in this story for us?  The story is packed with information and with understanding about God’s ways.  “God’s ways are not our ways” is one of those aphorisms that prove true to us at so many points in our lives.  This is one of those moments in St. Paul’s life.  Saul was busy about his life of persecuting the early Christian Church and the impossible seemed to happen.  He turned from a persecutor to the chief apostle of the message of Christ to the Gentile people.

What are those things that come into our lives “like a great light from the sky” that change our lives?   We all know people who have to hear what appears to be the terrible news of their own serious illness.  And, for so many of these folks, that terrible news is received and accepted (not without great suffering) and it proves to be a tremendous grace in their lives and for the lives of those around them.  Some people express it that the news shocked them into appreciating for the first time the gift of life and how precious it is. 

Loving God, come to us today and help us be open to the ways that you come into our lives.  Give us the courage to receive and accept whatever gift it is that you come to bring to us, whether that gift be a joyous or a sorrowful event or happening.  Help us to be like Saul in today’s reading in terms of letting You be the center of our lives.

Click on the link below to send an e-mail response
to the writer of this reflection.

Collaborative Ministry Office Guestbook