This weekend with this feast begins the Year of St Paul. Pope Benedict has designated the next year as a time of reflection on and thanksgiving for the life and teaching of this saint.
In some ways, perhaps he is neglected. On this feast day we often concentrate more on St Peter. We probably know more about St Francis or St Teresa or St Bernadette than we do about Paul.
And yet his story is amazing. He was well educated in the scriptures, a respected young teacher and zealous rabbi. As a young man he was fiercly opposed to the Christan church. He was chiefly responsible for the execution of St Stephen, and then set off for Damascus to persecute Christians there.
And on the way something extraordinary happened. He was blinded, Christ spoke to him, and he was completely transformed. His story is told in the Acts if the Apostles. He preached the Gospel, travelled widely, and founded many churches. He wrote many letters of deep theology, profound
teaching, both poetic and practical. And finally he was imprisoned, taken to Rome nc finally executed there. Most of the books in the New Testament were written by him and much of the teaching of the Church was first formalised bg him. After Christ himself, he could be rightly described a founder of the Christian faith.
We have much to learn from him this coming year.
St Paul, pray for us.