Second Reading: Galileans 1:11-19
Direct to the Source
How important is first hand information to you?
11 Iím letting you know, brothers and sisters, that the Good News which I preached was not made up by people. 12 People didnít pass it along to me. They didnít teach it to me either. Instead, Jesus Christ revealed it to me. 13 You heard about what I did when I lived with my people, the Jews. You know I did all I could to hurt Godís Church and tried to destroy it. 14 I was educated far more in my religion than Jews my age and cared far more about my ancestorsí traditions than they did. 15 But, when God set me aside after I was born and called me with his gift of grace, he was pleased to show me his Son, so I might tell everyone in every nation about Jesus. I didnít talk to any expert about him, 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see the men that were apostles before me. Instead, I went to Arabia, then returned for Damascus. 18 Three years later, I traveled to Jerusalem and saw Cephas. I stayed with him for fifteen days 19 but I didnít see any of the other apostles except for James, the brother of the Lord.
11 For I made know to you, brothers, the evangelon, the (one) evangelization from me, that (one) is not according to man. 12 For neither did I receive (it) nor was taught it according to man but through a revelation of Jesus Christ. 13 You heard about my behavior at that time among the Jews, that in excess I persecuted the Church of God and (attempted to) destroy it. 14 I advanced in Judaism to a much greater degree (than my) contemporaries among my people and was more zealous for the traditions of my ancestors. 15 But, when [God] was pleased, separating me out of my motherís womb and calling (me) through his grace, 16 to reveal his Son in me, so I might evangelize among the nations, I did not confer right away with flesh and blood, 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem towards the apostles (the ones in line) before me, but I went into Arabia and (afterwards) returned to Damascus. 18 Three years later, I went into Jerusalem to see Cephas and remained with him (for) fifteen days, 19 but the others among the apostles I did not see, except James, the brother of the Lord.
1:11 ďevangelonĒ means ďGood NewsĒ in the religious sense. Notice the redundance St. Paul used to hammer home his point. The message he preached did not have human origin; it was a revelation directly from the Risen Christ.
Education matters. The higher the degree, the higher oneís well-being (of course, there are many caveats to the sweeping statement). But, when it comes to faith, we might want to ask a different question. That was certainly the case for St. Paul.
In these verses from Galileans, the apostle to the Gentiles gave a thumb-nail sketch of his conversion, in order to make a point. His message came from Christ himself. That revelation set the tone of his message and his ministry for the rest of his days. Paul decided to put that encounter with Jesus into the context of his life and how it changed. Before his conversion moment, he was a highly educated Jew, scrupulous in his duty to the Law and zealous in stamping out the new Christian movement. But, on his way to Damascus, he had a vision of the Risen One and, along with that sight, a divine calling, a mission to preach to the Gentiles. The revelation he received must have been so clear and deep, that he did not consult with the eye witness authorities, Peter and the bishop of Jerusalem, James, until he met with them three years later. His authority came from Christ himself.
Education does matter, not only in content but in linage. Where something is learned can be just as important as what is learned. Why be content with third or fourth hand information when you can go to the source itself. Thatís what Paul did.
How does St. Paulís insight help you with your faith?