Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul

Faith Improvised

According to the Christian calendar, today is the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul. This is a meditation on the political character of Paul’s conversion.

Before he was arrested and transformed by the exalted Jesus on the Damascus Road, Paul (called Saul, at the time) was a Pharisee.  As such, he had a thoroughly political orientation and outlook.  He was passionate about the God of Israel bringing about the resurrection of the dead, which meant God’s restoration of Israel, his justification of the faithful, and his inauguration of the long-awaited Kingdom—God’s own religio-political and economic order on earth.

How did he imagine this was going to happen?

For the Pharisees, this involved a political effort.  They were seeking to present to God a nation that was passionately faithful to the Mosaic Law and its practices.  After all, if God sent Israel into exile because of unfaithfulness to the Law…

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