Wednesday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time
(Galatians 2:1-2.7-14; Luke 11:1-14)
It is hard to overestimate the contribution of St. Paul to early Christianity. He was arguably its greatest theologian and its most successful missionary. Although he continually proved himself a person of undaunted courage, he could also be tender and loving. Today’s first reading indicates another supreme virtue of Paul.
Even though he received a mandate to preach from Christ, Paul never breaks covenant with the Twelve. Quite the opposite, in the passage from Galatians Paul shows how he gave them deference. He went up to Jerusalem for their approval of his mission. He also gladly accommodated their desire that he take up a collection for poor Christians in Jerusalem. But Paul is not necessarily placid before the regular apostles. When Peter tries to avoid criticism for eating with Gentiles, Paul charges him with hypocrisy.
Paul serves us well both as a model to be imitated and a sage to be contemplated. He loved Christ more than anyone or anything. He also helps us to know the Lord by writing openly of his personal relationship with him. It might not have been always comfortable to know Paul as exacting as he was. However, the acquaintance would have brought us much closer to our goal of salvation.