Commentary on the Gospel of

Paulson Veliyannoor, CMF - Claretian Publications Philippines

Conversion or Vocation?

Christians tend to think of Paul as one who rejected Jewish faith and embraced Christianity. And Jews denounce him for the same reason as well. However, Krister Stendahl, in his book Paul Among Jews and Gentiles, observes that Paul was “called rather than converted.” Born as a Jew, Paul remains and dies a Jew. See how his testimony begins in today’s first reading: “I am [not ‘was’] a Jew…” Before the “experience” he saw only differences between peoples, and sought to eliminate the ‘other.’ After the “experience” he sees the continuity and oneness of all, and seeks to build bridges. Thus, Paul’s conversion is truly a vocation to live continuity and inclusiveness rather than rejection of one for the other. The need of the world, and our individual lives, is to arrive at such conversion that seeks to build bridges rather than walls.  


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