Called to a New Path
5 May 2019 – Third Sunday of Easter
We are called, every day, to follow Christ. . . to see Jesus in the face of others, in their suffering or their pride, in their need or their fear, in the eyes of the ones we love and the enemy before us. We are called to follow Jesus to the places we fear to go, to risk having our minds changed or our paths rerouted. –– Kara K. Root
Jesus’ final words. . . said that Peter would be led to places he would choose not to go. . . –– Regina A. Boisclair
Acts 9:1-6 [7-20]
Persecution led many followers of Jesus to flee and some went to Damascus where disputes between those who believed in Jesus and other Jews broke out in one or more synagogues. These matters came to Saul’s attention and he sought the authority of the high priest to go to Damascus to arrest and bring the followers of Jesus back to Jerusalem. –– Regina A. Boisclair
On the road that day, Paul did not convert from one faith to another, nor was he persuaded by a good idea to exchange his old system of beliefs for a new one. Paul encountered Jesus. Jesus, who was the fulfillment of the faith he already held. . . Saul didn’t have to be convinced; he’d been confronted. He wasn’t converted; he was called. . . deep in his own person in a way he couldn’t deny. . . . Saul met the living Jesus. His eyes were opened and his life was changed. And he did make a dramatic shift. . . to move forward into the life that God was calling him into.
. . . Then God calls . . . Ananias, a follower of Jesus, to go to Saul, his persecutor, and pray for him, because God has a purpose for Saul, and Ananias is going to be part of this story. After some protesting, Ananias goes. And when the two of them come together as human beings—shattering the boundary between oppressor and victim, dropping the importance of right and wrong, set- ting aside what they believed and what they thought they knew, and swallowing enough fear to put one foot in front of the other in humility and obedience to God’s call—the two men come face to face once again with the Risen Lord. Once again, they encounter Jesus. And Saul finds himself welcomed into the community that just a few days earlier he had intended to destroy. Instead of fearing him, its members share with him healing, nurture, blessing, and identity. Now his conversion is complete: a new person with a new name and new mission. –– Kara K. Root
After reiterating that every creature in heaven, on earth, and under the earth offers universal praise to God and the Lamb, the selection concludes by noting that the four living creatures respond “Amen” while the elders prostrate themselves before God’s throne. This vision is both drawn from and represents a challenge to the Roman imperial court. –– Regina A. Boisclair
Regina Boisclair, a Roman Catholic biblical scholar, teaches at Alaska Pacific University, Anchorage, Alaska.
Homily Service 43, no. 2 (2009): 106-116.