Oh, St. Paul, I gotta say, it must be nice to be you.
Not to say you weren’t a hard worker, and a good guy – a holy guy! – but to just get knocked off your horse like that and suddenly have faith in Christ? Well, on behalf of all of us who have ever longed for God to speak to us via thunderbolt, let me just say, that must be nice.
Today’s Gospel, the parable of the vineyard owner, reminds us that there is more than enough grace to go around, so I’m not annoyed with you Paul. Seriously, I’m not. I’m truly overjoyed that God finds people, transforms their lives, showers down graces and doesn’t pay heed to how long or how hard they’ve worked. I want – no, I *need* – for God to cast a wide net. I am genuinely glad that God turned your life around. 2000 years later, we’re still reaping the benefits.
But here’s the thing that gets me, and it’s in the first reading as clear as day: “Seek the Lord while he may be found”. If we’re not looking – always – for the right path, then how can we find it when the lights go out, when we’re left with nothing to orient us because we’re too torn up to see? Yes, God can always be found, yes, “the Lord is near to all who call upon him”. But how will we know how to call in our need if we haven’t been calling, in some way, when we don’t need?
Crisis doesn’t create character, it reveals it. I suppose that’s where you earn some points back, Paul, because all evidence indicates that you really had been looking for truth, just in all the wrong places. So when you got knocked off your horse you kept asking the same questions, just in light of this powerful evidence.
So pray for all of us who don’t have lightning conversions, who are trying to ask the right questions day by day so that when we are struck blind we can still seek the Lord.
[…] way of life”, and his story is a perfect example of the preferred conversion narrative. Get knocked down, see God, and turn your vehemence and self-assurance toward Jesus instead of against him. […]
[…] the long hard work of growing closer to a God I always loved. Not exactly boring, but nothing like falling off a horse, having a leg broken and re-set, giving back all my clothes in the public square, or any of the […]