He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” He asked, “Who are you, Lord?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting." Acts 9:4-5
When has the Holy Spirit knocked you “off your feet” and you heard the voice of Jesus? Some of us might actually have such a story, though it’s more likely most of us can’t claim such a dramatic moment.
Saul, soon to be renamed Paul, persecuted those who believed in the name of Jesus and proclaimed his resurrection. Now Saul meets the risen Jesus, who identifies with those Saul persecuted. Among the persecuted were within the very Jewish community of which Saul belonged. Jesus sends Saul in a new direction, to a new town and to become one of the persecuted.
It's always a bit surprising that God would choose such a person as Saul to become the greatest evangelizer of the early Church. Saul was going to have to do a lot of convincing of others that the Spirit had transformed him.
When we find ourselves in the middle of conflicts, from the minor to the large-scale violent, we can trust that Jesus is present. Jesus will not be identifying with those who impose violent and hurtful words or actions. Rather, his compassion is for the recipients of violence. At the same time, Jesus has the power to transform even our greatest enemy.
Within what conflict/s do you directly find yourself these days? Where do you see Jesus in them? How might seeing those who think or believe differently than you as fellow children of God change your actions?