Daily Bible Reading - January 25, 2024

Daily Bible Reading - January 25, 2024
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Claretian Communications Foundation, Inc.

FEAST OF THE CONVERSION OF ST. PAUL THE APOSTLE

Psalter: Proper / (White)

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 117: 1bc, 2: Go out to all the world and tell the Good news.

1st Reading: Acts 22: 3-16 (or Acts 9: 1-22)

“I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up here, in this city, where I was educated in the school of Gamaliel, according to the strict observance of our law. And I was dedicated to God’s service, as are all of you today. As for this way, I persecuted it to the point of death and arrested its followers, both men and women, throwing them into prison.

The High Priest and the whole Council of elders can bear witness to this. From them, I received letters for the Jewish brothers in Damascus; and I set out to arrest those who were there, and bring them back to Jerusalem for punishment. But, as I was traveling along, nearing Damascus, at about noon, a great light from the sky suddenly flashed about me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me: ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’ I answered: ‘Who are you, Lord?’

And he said to me: ‘I am Jesus, the Nazorean, whom you persecute.’ The men who were with me saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of the one who was speaking to me. I asked: ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord replied: ‘Get up and go to Damascus; there, you will be told all that you are destined to do.’ Yet, the brightness of that light had blinded me; and, so, I was led by the hand into Damascus by my companions.

There, a certain Ananias came to me. He was a devout observer of the law, and well-spoken of by all the Jews who were living there. As he stood by me, he said: ‘Brother Saul, recover your sight.’ At that moment, I could see; and I looked at him. He, then, said, ‘The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will, to see the Just One, and to hear the words from his mouth. From now on you shall be his witness before all the pagan people, and tell them all that you have seen and heard. And now, why delay? Get up and be baptized; and have your sins washed away, by calling upon his Name.’

Gospel: Mk 16: 15-18

Then he told them, “Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News to all creation. The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; the one who refuses to believe will be condemned.

Signs like these will accompany those who have believed: in my name they will cast out demons and speak new languages; they will pick up snakes, and if they drink anything poisonous, they will be unharmed; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.”

REFLECTION:

“To be changed by God's word.”

Before his conversion, St. Paul was a persecutor of Jesus’s followers. On his way to Damascus, as recounted in the Acts, he encountered the Lord. This encounter is characterized by his falling to the ground and his rising. It is only when Paul experienced falling to the ground that he was able to hear Jesus’ voice.

Prior to his conversion, perhaps, Paul’s life was characterized by self-righteousness, only to be confronted with the fact that everyone can only rely on God’s righteousness. He might have been thinking all the while that he was hearing God’s voice but in reality, he was just hearing his ego, trying to prove that he could accomplish his duty as a Pharisee.

Through God’s righteousness, Paul would become the Apostle to the Gentiles.

As Christians, we are mandated by the Gospel to proclaim the Good News to all creation. But before we are able to do such mandate, we first need to be changed by God’s word.

In our faith journey, it is when we experience falling that God would take us up by the hand and that we may rise again as new persons.

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