Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul
(Acts 22:3-16; Mark 16:15-18)
Fifty years ago with the declarations of Vatican II the movement toward Church unity was gathering steam. Only a few theological issues seemed to stand in the way. Now, however, the movement is stymied with the ordaining of women and the blessing of homosexual unions by some Christian communities. Reunification seems as unlikely as reaching the end of a rainbow. Today’s Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul ends a week in which many Christians have prayed for that vanishing goal.
St. Paul himself is a symbol of unity. His Letter to the Romans inspired Martin Luther to fire the first salvo of the Reformation. For Catholics Paul represents the celibate priest who gives of himself untiringly. His conversion is also representative of the change of heart that Christians of different persuasions must make. They must let go of simplistic assertions causing division to seek deeper truths effecting unity.
Let us not abandon the quest for Christian unity. We want to pray for it. Equally important, we need to collaborate with separated sisters and brothers on its behalf. We should especially unite on social projects. Very critically, we must not let petty desires for prominence inhibit the movement. The credibility of the gospel depends in part on our efforts.