When Saul 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. Barnabas, however, took charge of him, introduced him to the apostles, and explained how the Lord had appeared to Saul and spoken to him on his journey, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. Saul now started to go round with them in Jerusalem, preaching fearlessly in the name of the Lord. But after he had spoken to the Hellenists, and argued with them, they became determined to kill him. When the brothers knew, they took him to Caesarea, and sent him off from there to Tarsus.
The churches throughout Judaea, Galilee and Samaria were now left in peace, building themselves up, living in the fear of the Lord, and filled with the consolation of the Holy Spirit.
First reading for the 5th Sunday of Easter
Acts of the Apostles 9:26-31
Paul always seems to have been perceived as a challenge – to Jews, Christians and pagans alike!
And yet he preaches a way of love and a way of freedom, a way that is firmly rooted in the person and teaching of Jesus, redolent with the grace of God.
Maybe the problem is not Paul, but us!
Mosaic of St Paul. Basilica of St Paul outside the walls, Rome. (c) 2016, Allen Morris.