Meanwhile Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
He asked, “Who are you, Lord?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But get up and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.”The men who were traveling with him stood speechless because they heard the voice but saw no one. Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. For three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
Now there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” He answered, “Here I am, Lord.” The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul. At this moment he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.”
But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints in Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who invoke your name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel; I myself will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.”
So Ananias went and entered the house. He laid his hands on Saul and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and his sight was restored.
Then he got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength. For several days he was with the disciples in Damascus, and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
Jesus changes hearts. Metanoia is possible after bright lights and blindness. Saul is transformed from a murderer into a disciple. Two disciples are in this story. Ananias is an obedient disciple. He goes to minister to Saul even though this same man was persecuting and killing followers of Jesus.
Is Jesus calling me to minister to someone who is against me? Am I willing to minister to that person so that the scales can fall from their eyes?
Once Jesus transforms us, our hearts are filled to overflowing. That overflow manifests itself in discipleship. Transformed disciples go out to the entire world to proclaim the Gospel.
Will I allow my heart to be transformed by Jesus? How do I live my life as a result of that transformation? Where am I willing to go to bring the Gospel message? Will my lived-faith be a reflection of Jesus’ Light to the world?
—Adele Berthelot is a geological technologist. She graduated from Loyola Institute for Ministry in New Orleans, and belongs to Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Gramercy, Louisiana, where she participates in liturgical and pastoral ministries.
Lord, if only we could penetrate our blind spots that keep us from fully living for you. If only we could have the courage to listen to those who may try to help us see in new ways. We accept your help. We will listen more closely; we will reflect more honestly. And we will see your goodness, hear your call, and move more confidently to serve you.
—The Jesuit Prayer TeamPlease share the Good Word with your friends!