Today's reading about the persecution of the Early Church and the arrests Saul was making in an effort to destroy the Church, brings to my mind the thought of how one never knows how God's grace can touch a person and enable them to change. Saul, became Paul, one of the greatest saints of the Church.
Pope Francis has initiated a Year of Mercy and among his many statements encouraging us to live mercy, says "Situations can change; people can change. Be the first to seek to bring good. Do not grow accustomed to evil, but defeat it with good." When I think of this in connection with today's reading, I not only think of the change that others' make in their lives, but also the changes God is asking me to make in my own life.
As God showered graces upon Saul /Paul and helped him to change, so God gives me grace-upon-grace to grow in holiness. Do I believe this? Do I believe that I can change a sinful pattern in my life? Do I believe that I can grow in virtue? Do I use age or situations or something else as an excuse for not making the effort to change?
Paul's live was not without suffering. Change may cost and bring suffering. Perhaps it is the dread of dealing with personal suffering that keeps me from changing. What was it that helped Saul change? I think it was his deep love for God, rooted in his Jewish Faith. There was nothing that Saul would not do for God. When he was touched by God's redeeming grace, his vehement search for those who followed Jesus of Nazareth became transformed into his zealous proclamation of "Jesus is Lord!"
God can help me in my own personal transformation. God can help others too. Perhaps this is why Pope Francis' quote "Who am I to judge?" has become so popular.