Sunday’s Second Reading (Philippians 4:6-9):
There is no need to worry; but if there is anything you need, pray for it, asking God for it with prayer and thanksgiving, and that peace of God, which is so much greater than we can understand, will guard your hearts and your thoughts, in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, fill your minds with everything that is true, everything that is noble, everything that is good and pure, everything that we love and honour, and everything that can be thought virtuous or worthy of praise. Keep doing all the things that you learnt from me and have been taught by me and have heard or seen that I do. Then the God of peace will be with you.
The faith of St Paul is incredible. He has an air of authority about him; a real confidence, and why shouldn’t he? He met Jesus! On that long road to Damascus he was actually met by the resurrected Christ, hence his swift conversion to Christianity.
This is why - when we hear St Paul speak to us - we must listen intently and take each word into our hearts with the utmost confidence that what we are hearing is Truth. St Paul, infused by the Holy Spirit, was chosen to spread Christ’s message of love and mercy to the world.
St Paul had never met Jesus during his earthly life. Yes he had heard about him but he had never actually met him. He only met him after the Resurrection; yet Paul, after this meeting, had the conversion of conversions and even died a martyr for Christ’s cause.
St Paul undoubtedly saw the risen Christ on that road to Damascus. And while we sometimes wish we could see Christ for ourselves, particularly in our struggles, we can have certainty of faith thanks to the likes of St Paul. What man would be willing to sacrifice his entire life for a lie? Because if Christ really doesn’t exist or he wasn’t raised from the dead on the third day then St Paul is trying to fool all of us! Yet, Paul converted to Christianity, the faith he despised and persecuted. He travelled the world to spread Christ’s message, despite ridicule and abuse. And he died a martyr for the cause of Christ and his Church. If Paul was fooling us, he went some way to achieve it.
And Paul’s journey shows us that following Christ isn’t all sweetness and roses; at least not on first viewing. It can be a hard journey but it is also a very worthwhile one. Why? Because, like St Paul, we can be raised to Heaven to be with Jesus forever. We can live forever in the glory and splendour of the Father’s home! If we just remember those words of St Paul: ‘Keep doing all the things that you learnt from me and have been taught by me and have heard or seen that I do. Then the God of peace will be with you.’