Vatican City – By proclaiming a year dedicated to St. Paul, Pope Benedict brought attention to a Biblical figure who often has been off the Church's radar.
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Paul's mission to the Gentiles was a much smaller enterprise than a Billy Graham crusade, a Nova Scotia theologian told Scripturefest 2008.
Trouble was brewing in Galatia. St. Paul had preached the Gospel to the people in this region of modern-day Turkey while they nursed him back to health from an undisclosed ailment. They treated him "as angel of God, as Christ Jesus."
One notable feature of St. Paul's letter to the Ephesians is its concern with power. The apostle writes about the power of earthly authorities, the power of Jesus Christ, the power of Christ within us and the power of "the wicked spiritual elements in heavenly places."
Lydia was a devout woman, a believer in God in Philippi, a pagan city. She went down to the river that day to join the other women in prayer.
One can only guess at what might have been going on in Paul's mind when Jesus appeared to him on the road to Damascus. But surely one question he must have asked himself was, "What the heck is he doing here?"
Paul was persecuting the followers of a dead man. Or so he thought. It must have been a tremendous shock for Paul to meet Jesus on the road to Damascus.
One reason, perhaps the main reason, that we have been so ignorant of the writings of St. Paul is that, unlike the four Gospel writers, Paul does not tell stories about the life of Jesus.
St. Paul at a few points in his writings calls Christ "the image of God." Perhaps the clearest statement comes in his letter to the Colossians where Paul writes, "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation" (1:15).
Sacred Scripture offers two avenues by which we may be drawn into the faith world of St. Paul and come face-to-face with the truth and beauty of the Gospel he preached: the letters Paul wrote and Acts of the Apostles, penned by the evangelist Luke.