THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER
14 April 2013
Today we hear the remarkable story of the conversion of Paul. In Acts, Paul (his Latin name) is sometimes called Saul (his Greek name). The name “Christian” had not come into being; instead the movement is called “the Way.” There also are two other accounts in the Acts of the conversion, both told by Paul (22:1-29); 26:1-23). Paul had been a leader of the Pharisees who persecuted Christians and had been in charge when they stoned to death St. Stephen (7:54 – 8:3). In his dramatic conversion, Paul had an experience of seeing and speaking with Christ. He later held that this put him on a par with the Twelve, who, of course, had seen and conversed with Jesus; on this ground, Paul claimed the right to the title of “apostle.”
The author-narrator named John (not John the evangelist) is shown God on a magnificent throne guarded by four creatures, one something like a lion, another like an ox, a third like a man, and a fourth like an eagle, yet each has six wings and is covered with eyes, “eyes all around and inside” (4:8). God’s throne is flanked by smaller thrones for twenty-four elders, and in their midst stands a slaughtered lamb with seven horns and seven eyes “which are the seven spirits of God” (5:6). A myriad of angels surrounds these and all burst into liturgical hymns of praise with every creature of the universe joining in.