January 25, 2023
First Reading: Acts 22:3-16
3 “I am a Jew, born at Tarsus in Cili’cia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gama’li-el, educated according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God as you all are this day. 4 I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering to prison both men and women, 5 as the high priest and the whole council of elders bear me witness. From them I received letters to the brethren, and I journeyed to Damascus to take those also who were there and bring them in bonds to Jerusalem to be punished. 6 As I made my journey and drew near to Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone about me. 7 And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, `Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’ 8 And I answered, `Who are you, Lord?’ And he said to me, `I am Jesus of Nazareth whom you are persecuting.’ 9 Now those who were with me saw the light but did not hear the voice of the one who was speaking to me. 10 And I said, `What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, `Rise, and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all that is appointed for you to do.’ 11 And when I could not see because of the brightness of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me, and came into Damascus. 12 And one Anani’as, a devout man according to the law, well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there, 13 came to me, and standing by me said to me, `Brother Saul, receive your sight.’ And in that very hour I received my sight and saw him. 14 And he said, `The God of our fathers appointed you to know his will, to see the Just One and to hear a voice from his mouth; 15 for you will be a witness for him to all men of what you have seen and heard. 16 And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on his name.'”
1 Praise the LORD, all nations! Extol him, all peoples! 2 For great is his steadfast love toward us; and the faithfulness of the LORD endures for ever. Praise the LORD!
Gospel: Mark 16:15-18
15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
Reflection of the Day: “Paul’s conversion matured in his encounter with the Risen Christ, it was this encounter that radically changed his life. What happened to him on the road to Damascus is what Jesus asks in today’s Gospel, Saul is converted because, thanks to the divine light, ‘he has believed in the Gospel.’ In this consists his and our conversion – in believing in Jesus dead and risen and in opening to the illumination of His divine grace. In that moment Saul understood, that his salvation, did not depend on good works fulfilled according to the law but, on the fact, that Jesus died also for him the persecutor and has risen. This truth by which every Christian life is enlightened thanks to Baptism completely overturns our way of life. To be converted means, also for each one of us, to believe that Jesus ‘has given himself for me’, dying on the Cross (cf. Galatians 2: 20) and, risen, lives with me and in me. Entrusting myself to the power of His forgiveness, letting myself be taken by His hand, I can come out of the quicksands of pride and sin, of deceit and sadness, of selfishness and of every false security, to know and live the richness of His love.” — Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI