Many mistakenly assume the Lord changed Saul’s name to Paul sometime after Saul converted from Judaism to Christianity, which happened during his encounter with Christ on the Road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-19). Unlike the instance of Jesus changing Simon’s name to Kepha (Gk. Petros) as a way of signifying the special role he would play in the Church (Mt 16:18, Jn 1:41-42), in Paul’s case there was no name change.
Saul of Tarsus was born a Jew, “circumcised on the eight day, of the race of Israel, or the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrew parentage, in observance of the law a Pharisee” (Phil 3:5). The Hebrew name given him by his parents was Saul, but, because his father was a Roman citizen (and therefore Saul inherited Roman citizenship), Saul also had the Latin name Paul (Acts 16:37, 22:25-28), the custom of dual names being common in those days. Since he grew up in a strict Pharisee environment, the name Saul was by far the more appropriate name to go by. But after his conversion Saul determined to bring the gospel to the Gentiles, so he dusted off his Roman name and became known as Paul, a name Gentiles were accustomed to.
Adopting his Roman name was typical of Paul’s missionary style. His method was to put people at their ease and to approach them with his message in a language and style they could relate to. We should take a cue from Paul as we engage in apologetics work. No, we don’t need to adopt new names, but we should accommodate ourselves to our audiences (and we mean here audiences as small as one person). We want to speak to people in their own styles, so far as we can, and we want to address their particular concerns. We don’t want to raise people’s hackles before we even have a chance to raise issues.
As Paul explained,
Although I am free in regard to all, I have made myself a slave to all so as to win over as many as possible. To the Jews I became a Jew to win over Jews; to those under the law I became like one under the law – though I myself am not under the law – to win over those under the law. To those outside the law I became like one outside the law. To the weak I became weak to win over the weak. I have become all things to all, to save at least some. All this I do for the sake of the gospel, so that I too may have a share in it. (1 Cor 9:19-23; see also 1 Cor 10:33, Rom 15:1)
Hail to Tulsa U…it’s Homecoming week! Join Newman in any (or all) of the activities throughout the week, especially street painting on Tuesday and our Homecoming Mass & Brunch on Sunday. All parents, students, alumni, and friends are invited to Sunday’s shindig; you can get more information here. Also, check out this week’s bulletin for more upcoming events and response to Jennifer Lawrence’s statement about sexually explicit photos: Bulletin-2014-10-12
Keep the wisdom of next week’s Gospel with you throughout this week:
29th Sunday in Ordinary Time (October 19, 2014):
The Pharisees went off
and plotted how they might entrap Jesus in speech.
They sent their disciples to him, with the Herodians, saying,
“Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man
and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth.
And you are not concerned with anyone’s opinion,
for you do not regard a person’s status.
Tell us, then, what is your opinion:
Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?”
Knowing their malice, Jesus said,
“Why are you testing me, you hypocrites?
Show me the coin that pays the census tax.”
Then they handed him the Roman coin.
He said to them, “Whose image is this and whose inscription?”
They replied, “Caesar’s.”
At that he said to them,
“Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar
and to God what belongs to God.”
This week, be a voice for the voiceless through Barefoot for Babies or becoming involved in our new pro life initiative. Plus, serve the Church through physical labor at Mary and Martha Morning or MANtenance Day. Get all the details today (and an elementary school game-playing Mother Mary) in this week’s bulletin: Bulletin-2014-10-05
Christ speaks to us through the living word of the Gospel; keep next week’s reading in mind through your trials and triumphs.
28th Sunday in Ordinary Time (October 12, 2014):
Jesus again in reply spoke to the chief priests and elders of the people
in parables, saying,
“The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king
who gave a wedding feast for his son.
He dispatched his servants
to summon the invited guests to the feast,
but they refused to come.
A second time he sent other servants, saying,
‘Tell those invited: “Behold, I have prepared my banquet,
my calves and fattened cattle are killed,
and everything is ready; come to the feast.”’
Some ignored the invitation and went away,
one to his farm, another to his business.
The rest laid hold of his servants,
mistreated them, and killed them.
The king was enraged and sent his troops,
destroyed those murderers, and burned their city.
Then he said to his servants, ‘The feast is ready,
but those who were invited were not worthy to come.
Go out, therefore, into the main roads
and invite to the feast whomever you find.’
The servants went out into the streets
and gathered all they found, bad and good alike,
and the hall was filled with guests.
But when the king came in to meet the guests,
he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment.
The king said to him, ‘My friend, how is it
that you came in here without a wedding garment?’
But he was reduced to silence.
Then the king said to his attendants, ‘Bind his hands and feet,
and cast him into the darkness outside,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’
Many are invited, but few are chosen.”