We all know that someone in our life that lives on the edge, that someone who never comes to Church but always wants to judge those who do. We all know that someone who constantly speaks out against the Church and our brother and sister Christians. We also know that God asks us to love them and forgive them, but sometimes we might think they are a “lost cause” so we write them off.
Today’s reading from Acts (you can read it below) we hear within a few short verses that a man who was known as the fiercest enemy of the Church became the greatest advocate and evangelist of the Gospel, but it required the Church to open her arms to the possibility of repentance.
When God asked Ananias to seek out Saul to heal him, Ananias hesitated. “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to thy saints at Jerusalem.” Nonetheless, Ananias obeyed God and healed Saul. In response to God’s love and the welcoming embrace of the Church, Saul was Baptized and became Paul, the Great Evangelist Missionary and Apostle.
If you think in your heart that someone might be a lost cause, think again. It may only require a little love and open arms on your part to bring out the repentance in their heart. You may be the vehicle that God will use to bring others into the Church.
Just a little something to think about today.
In those days, Philip was found at Azotos, and passing on he preached the gospel to all the towns till he came to Caesarea. But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he journeyed he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed about him. And he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" And he said, "Who are you, Lord?" And he said, " I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting; but rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do." The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. Saul arose from the ground; and when his eyes were opened, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank. Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, "Ananias." And he said, "Here I am, Lord." And the Lord said to him, "Rise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for a man of Tarsus named Saul; for behold, he is praying, and he has seen a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight." But Ananias answered, "Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to thy saints at Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call upon thy name." But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name." So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came, has sent me that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit." And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized, and took food and was strengthened. – Acts 8.40-9.19