Saul of Tarsus was a Pharisee who learned at the feet of Gamaliel one of the wisest and most respected men of his day. It was Gamaliel who counselled the Sanhedrin to a wait and see policy over the new Church (Acts 5:34-39). Saul was young and it would seem rather hot headed. Having seen the illegal mob stoning of Stephen the Deacon he set about a virulent persecution of the followers of the Way, not just in
He was on his way to
Saul was made blind and had three days of darkness before the Lord sent Ananias to receive him into the Church and give him back his sight.
Paul as he was now named went out to the synagogues and instead of stirring up the hatred towards the Christians he began to preach the Good News. The leaders were not impressed and Paul had to escape by being let down in a basket from the city wall.
Remember that kiddie hymn?
Paul was let down in a basket
Over the city wall.
His life was in danger because he said
That God had raised Jesus from the dead
And made him the Lord of all, of all of all.
After three years Paul made it back to
Joseph Barnabas acted as mediator and introduced Paul to Peter and to James, who was bishop of
Paul later caught Peter acting as though these same mitzvah’s still counted and told him off. Popes might be infallible, but they are not impeccable.
Paul travelled with Barnabas and established a good friendship with his early convert Timothy (who was circumcised before the Council of Jerusalem), but he did not get on so well with the young John Mark, who eventually ended up as Peter’s secretary and wrote a Gospel.
After travelling and writing and suffering for many years Paul ended up in prison for the last time. He was beheaded as befits a citizen of
Paul had understood the depth of Christ’s question to him that day on the way to
His understanding was the beginning of the deep understanding of Christ’s presence in the Holy Eucharist; Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. He understood that we cannot receive such a gift unless in a state of grace lest we bring condemnation on ourselves.