Thoughts and Reflection
Today we read about the conversion of Saul on his way to Damascus to arrest the Christians. Jesus appeared to him and asks why Saul is persecuting him. This is important since Jesus is identifiying himself with directly with the Church. Jesus also appears to Ananias and sends him to Saul to heal his blindness. Rather than Jesus doing this himself, he has the Church perform the healing.
The Church continues to expand because of the persecution. Followers of Jesus were called to unite our sufferings with his. The gospel is advanced though griendships and family relationships primarily.
About This Project
For the year 2022, I decided that my New Year’s Resolution was to read the whole Bible following the Bible in the Year plan presented by Fr. Mike Schmitz. It is a big and bold undertaking. You can follow along by subscribing. Feel free to look at previous day’s post and comment. It’s something we can all learn from together!
1 Meanwhile Saul was still breathing threats to slaughter the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest
2 and asked for letters addressed to the synagogues in Damascus, that would authorise him to arrest and take to Jerusalem any followers of the Way, men or women, that he might find.
3 It happened that while he was travelling to Damascus and approaching the city, suddenly a light from heaven shone all round him.
4 He fell to the ground, and then he heard a voice saying, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’
5 ‘Who are you, Lord?’ he asked, and the answer came, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.
6 Get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you are to do.’
7 The men travelling with Saul stood there speechless, for though they heard the voice they could see no one.
8 Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing at all, and they had to lead him into Damascus by the hand.
9 For three days he was without his sight and took neither food nor drink.
10 There was a disciple in Damascus called Ananias, and he had a vision in which the Lord said to him, ‘Ananias!’ When he replied, ‘Here I am, Lord,’
11 the Lord said, ‘Get up and go to Straight Street and ask at the house of Judas for someone called Saul, who comes from Tarsus. At this moment he is praying,
12 and has seen a man called Ananias coming in and laying hands on him to give him back his sight.’
13 But in response, Ananias said, ‘Lord, I have heard from many people about this man and all the harm he has been doing to your holy people in Jerusalem.
14 He has come here with a warrant from the chief priests to arrest everybody who invokes your name.’
15 The Lord replied, ‘Go, for this man is my chosen instrument to bring my name before gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel;
16 I myself will show him how much he must suffer for my name.’
17 Then Ananias went. He entered the house, and laid his hands on Saul and said, ‘Brother Saul, I have been sent by the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, so that you may recover your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.’
18 It was as though scales fell away from his eyes and immediately he was able to see again. So he got up and was baptised,
19 and after taking some food he regained his strength. After he had spent only a few days with the disciples in Damascus,
20 he began preaching in the synagogues, ‘Jesus is the Son of God.’
21 All his hearers were amazed, and said, ‘Surely, this is the man who did such damage in Jerusalem to the people who invoke this name, and who came here for the sole purpose of arresting them to have them tried by the chief priests?’
22 Saul’s power increased steadily, and he was able to throw the Jewish colony at Damascus into complete confusion by the way he demonstrated that Jesus was the Christ.
23 Some time passed, and the Jews worked out a plot to kill him,
24 but news of it reached Saul. They were keeping watch at the gates day and night in order to kill him,
25 but the disciples took him by night and let him down from the wall, lowering him in a basket.
26 When he got to Jerusalem he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him: they could not believe he was really a disciple.
27 Barnabas, however, took charge of him, introduced him to the apostles, and explained how the Lord had appeared to him and spoken to him on his journey, and how he had preached fearlessly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.
28 Saul now started to go round with them in Jerusalem, preaching fearlessly in the name of the Lord.
29 But after he had spoken to the Hellenists and argued with them, they became determined to kill him.
30 When the brothers got to know of this, they took him to Caesarea and sent him off from there to Tarsus.
31 The churches throughout Judaea, Galilee and Samaria were now left in peace, building themselves up and living in the fear of the Lord; encouraged by the Holy Spirit, they continued to grow.
32 It happened that Peter visited one place after another and eventually came to God’s holy people living down in Lydda.
33 There he found a man called Aeneas, a paralytic who had been bedridden for eight years.
34 Peter said to him, ‘Aeneas, Jesus Christ cures you: get up and make your bed.’ Aeneas got up immediately;
35 everybody who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him, and they were converted to the Lord.
36 At Jaffa there was a disciple called Tabitha, or in Greek, Dorcas, who never tired of doing good or giving to those in need.
37 But it happened that at this time she became ill and died, and they washed her and laid her out in an upper room.
38 Lydda is not far from Jaffa, so when the disciples heard that Peter was there, they sent two men to urge him, ‘Come to us without delay.’
39 Peter went back with them immediately, and on his arrival they took him to the upper room, where all the widows stood round him in tears, showing him tunics and other clothes Dorcas had made when she was with them.
40 Peter sent everyone out of the room and knelt down and prayed. Then he turned to the dead woman and said, ‘Tabitha, stand up.’ She opened her eyes, looked at Peter and sat up.
41 Peter helped her to her feet, then he called in the members of the congregation and widows and showed them she was alive.
42 The whole of Jaffa heard about it and many believed in the Lord.
43 Peter stayed on some time in Jaffa, lodging with a leather-tanner called Simon.
1 It is for us who are strong to bear with the susceptibilities of the weaker ones, and not please ourselves.
2 Each of us must consider his neighbour’s good, so that we support one another.
3 Christ did not indulge his own feelings, either; indeed, as scripture says: The insults of those who insult you fall on me.
4 And all these things which were written so long ago were written so that we, learning perseverance and the encouragement which the scriptures give, should have hope.
5 Now the God of perseverance and encouragement give you all the same purpose, following the example of Christ Jesus,
6 so that you may together give glory to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ with one heart.
7 Accept one another, then, for the sake of God’s glory, as Christ accepted you.
8 I tell you that Christ’s work was to serve the circumcised, fulfilling the truthfulness of God by carrying out the promises made to the fathers,
9 and his work was also for the gentiles, so that they should give glory to God for his faithful love; as scripture says: For this I shall praise you among the nations and sing praise to your name.
10 And in another place it says: Nations, rejoice, with his people,
11 and in another place again: Praise the Lord, all nations, extol him, all peoples.
12 And in Isaiah, it says: The root of Jesse will appear, he who rises up to rule the nations, and in him the nations will put their hope.
13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in your faith, so that in the power of the Holy Spirit you may be rich in hope.
14 My brothers, I am quite sure that you, in particular, are full of goodness, fully instructed and capable of correcting each other.
15 But I have special confidence in writing on some points to you, to refresh your memories, because of the grace that was given to me by God.
16 I was given grace to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the gentiles, dedicated to offer them the gospel of God, so that gentiles might become an acceptable offering, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
17 So I can be proud, in Christ Jesus, of what I have done for God.
18 Of course I can dare to speak only of the things which Christ has done through me to win the allegiance of the gentiles, using what I have said and done,
19 by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God. In this way, from Jerusalem and all round, even as far as Illyricum, I have fully carried out the preaching of the gospel of Christ;
20 and what is more, it has been my rule to preach the gospel only where the name of Christ has not already been heard, for I do not build on another’s foundations;
21 in accordance with scripture: Those who have never been told about him will see him, and those who have never heard about him willunderstand.
22 That is why I have been so often prevented from coming to see you;
23 now, however, as there is nothing more to keep me in these parts, I hope, after longing for many years past to visit you, to see you when I am on the way to Spain-
24 and after enjoying at least something of your company, to be sent on my way with your support.
25 But now I have undertaken to go to Jerusalem in the service of the holy people of God there,
26 since Macedonia and Achaia have chosen to make a generous contribution to the poor among God’s holy people at Jerusalem.
27 Yes, they chose to; not that they did not owe it to them. For if the gentiles have been given a share in their spiritual possessions, then in return to give them help with material possessions is repaying a debt to them.
28 So when I have done this, and given this harvest into their possession, I shall visit you on the way to Spain.
29 I am sure that, when I do come to you, I shall come with the fullest blessing of Christ.
30 Meanwhile I urge you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, that in your prayers to God for me you exert yourselves to help me;
31 praying that I may escape the unbelievers in Judaea, and that the aid I am carrying to Jerusalem will be acceptable to God’s holy people.
32 Then I shall come to you, if God wills, for a happy time of relaxation in your company.
33 The God of peace be with you all. Amen.
1 I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deaconess of the church at Cenchreae;
2 give her, in the Lord, a welcome worthy of God’s holy people, and help her with whatever she needs from you — she herself has come to the help of many people, including myself.
3 My greetings to Prisca and Aquila, my fellow-workers in Christ Jesus,
4 who risked their own necks to save my life; to them, thanks not only from me, but from all the churches among the gentiles;
5 and my greetings to the church at their house. Greetings to my dear friend Epaenetus, the first of Asia’s offerings to Christ.
6 Greetings to Mary, who worked so hard for you.
7 Greetings to those outstanding apostles, Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen and fellow-prisoners, who were in Christ before me.
8 Greetings to Ampliatus, my dear friend in the Lord.
9 Greetings to Urban, my fellow-worker in Christ, and to my dear friend Stachys.
10 Greetings to Apelles, proved servant of Christ. Greetings to all the household of Aristobulus.
11 Greetings to my kinsman, Herodion, and greetings to those who belong to the Lord in the household of Narcissus.
12 Greetings to Tryphaena and Tryphosa who work hard in the Lord; greetings to my dear friend Persis, also a very hard worker in the Lord.
13 Greetings to Rufus, chosen servant of the Lord, and to his mother — a mother to me too.
14 Greetings to Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, and the brothers who are with them.
15 Greetings to Philologus and Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas and all God’s holy people who are with them.
16 Greet each other with the holy kiss. All the churches of Christ send their greetings.
17 I urge you, brothers, be on your guard against the people who are out to stir up disagreements and bring up difficulties against the teaching which you learnt. Avoid them.
18 People of that sort are servants not of our Lord Christ, but of their own greed; and with talk that sounds smooth and reasonable they deceive the minds of the unwary.
19 Your obedience has become known to everyone, and I am very pleased with you for it; but I should want you to be learned only in what is good, and unsophisticated about all that is evil.
20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
21 Timothy, who is working with me, sends greetings to you, and so do my kinsmen Lucius, Jason and Sosipater.
22 I, Tertius, who am writing this letter, greet you in the Lord.
23 Greetings to you from Gaius, my host here, and host of the whole church. Erastus, the city treasurer, sends greetings to you, and our brother Quartus.
25 And now to him who can make you strong in accordance with the gospel that I preach and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, in accordance with that mystery which for endless ages was kept secret
26 but now (as the prophets wrote) is revealed, as the eternal God commanded, to be made known to all the nations, so that they obey in faith:
27 to him, the only wise God, give glory through Jesus Christ for ever and ever. Amen.
18 Whoever tends the fig tree eats its figs, whoever looks after his master will be honoured.
19 As water reflects face back to face, so one human heart reflects another.
20 Sheol and Perdition are never satisfied, insatiable, too, are human eyes.