Feast of the Epiphany
Second Reading: Ephesians 3: 2-3a, 5-6
St Paul had been born and brought up a Jew with a deep awareness of the status of the Jewish people as the Chosen Race. He would have been steeped in the Scriptures which emphasised God's particular love for them. He would have expected the Messiah to have been their saviour and was one of the many people who rejected Jesus as Messiah - not only rejecting him but seeing all who followed him as deluded and dangerous.
Such was the drama of his conversion that he realised that his preconceptions were wrong. He was wrong about Jesus - and wrong about Jesus' followers. He was wrong about the Messiah being only for the Jews. So much of his old mind-set was wrong. But Paul was a remarkable man - and was prepared to admit that he was wrong!
He recognised what he had received as a revelation - an insight into the mystery of God's grace which had been hidden until the world was ready. God's love and grace is universal. There is not a human being who is beyond that love - and only those who choose not to receive it cannot benefit from God's grace.
This revelation took him out into the world beyond the ancient Holy Land - to perilous journeys, every bit as epic as those that we read of in our own day! For he knew that the pagans - the un-Chosen - the non-Jews - were also called to be part of the body of Christ. Jesus was born a Jew in Bethlehem - as Risen Lord, he was Lord of all nations and peoples; the Hebrew Scriptures had been for a nation chosen by God to receive the revelations - in the Gospel and in the person of Christ, the fullness of truth was revealed to the world.
Paul knew this.
It changed his mind.
It changed his heart.
It changed the world.
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