Immersed in Christ
The Conversion of Saint Paul, Apostle
Tuesday, January 25, 2022
by Fr. David M. Knight
“Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.”
(Responsorial: Mark 16:15; Psalm 117)
Acts 22:3-16 is Paul’s basic experience of Jesus. It gives the key to everything he preached and wrote for the rest of his life. The Jesus Paul met, the Jesus he was aware of from that minute forward, was Jesus identified with those who believe in him.
When Paul asked, “Who are you?” Jesus answered, “I am Jesus of Nazareth whom you are persecuting.” Paul could have responded, “I am persecuting your followers, not you.” But he knew better. What he saw, what God gave him to understand from that moment, and what he never lost sight of, is that those who believe in Jesus have become Christ and he has become what they are.
Every one of us must identify ourselves as Paul identified himself: “ It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me.”
This was the core of Paul’s preaching: “the mystery hidden throughout the ages but now been revealed to his saints.” Through Paul “God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches... of this mystery.” And the mystery, the message Paul was sent to give to the world, is simply this: “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
This was Paul’s ministry: to bring Christ to be in all who accepted him: “My little children, for whom I am again in the pain of childbirth until Christ is formed in you.” For Paul the “work of ministry” consisted in “building up the body of Christ,” helping all grow “to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ.” More precisely, the goal is the mystery of Christ coming to perfection in us and we in him: “to make every person complete in Christ”— until we “form that perfect man who is Christ come to full stature.”
The first and foundational phase of our spiritual growth into the fullness of faith and knowledge, into maturity and the “perfection of love,” is simply to cultivate awareness of the mystery of our new identity. This is the mystery of Christ in us,” the “hope” and foretaste of the “glory” which is ours now and will be ours in its fullness when Christ has grown to “full stature” in us, the glorified Church, which is “his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.” Then we will truly “know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge,” and “be filled with all the fullness of God.”
But the first step, the first phase, is to keep ourselves aware of who we are.
Mark 16:15-18: Jesus sent, not just the Apostles, but all of us to “proclaim the Good News.” We have to keep ourselves aware of this to do it.
Initiative: Cultivate your true self-image. Say the WIT prayer all day long.
 Galatians 2:20; Colossians 1:25-27.  Galatians 4:19; Ephesians 4:11-13. See the 1970 New Testament of The New American Bible. The point of focus here in the Greek text is the andra teleion, Christ himself, head and members. Other translations have subtly shifted the focus to our growth rather than the mystery of Christ himself as the fulfillment of all creation. See also Ephesians 1:3-10; Colossians 1:9-20.