How many of you think that Paul was knocked off his horse when he encountered Christ on the road to Damascus?
Luke thought the conversion of Paul was very important since there are three separate accounts of this meeting in Acts of the Apostles:
Chap 9, Chap 22, where Paul defends himself in Jerusalem after he was arrested in the Temple and in Chap 26, where Paul defends himself before Agrippa as he is under arrest and before he is transferred to Rome.
In none of these account does it mention that Paul was knocked off his horse. So we must be careful what we read into scriptures. Sometimes we read what we think is there. Now, in defense of those who think Paul was knocked off his horse, one could assume as a pharisee and a member of the elite, he was riding a horse. There is also a famous painting that shows this, I believe by Carvagio.
So let us look at what is important in this reading.
At first glance it would appear that Paul would not be a good choice to have an encounter with the Risen Lord. After all, he was killing Christians. But remember, God’s ways are not our ways; and God see what is in a man’s heart. God saw in the zealousness of Paul the potential to be a great missionary for Christ; and so he was. What does he see in your heart?
Paul was persecuting Christians, because he was a zealot for God, the Jewish God. Remember, Paul was not only a pharisee, he was also a biblical scholar. Jesus confronts Paul with the fact that when he persecutes Christians, he is actually persecuting Christ himself. Thus Jesus identifies himself with the Church as the true Church of Christ.
Because Paul was a scripture scholar he was prepared to receive the Messiah. He was just as enthusiastic in defending the Church once he understood that the Messiah had indeed come. Paul was also the one to put the Mosaic law into proper perspective. In the coming of Christ we have a new covenant and a new law, which supersedes the old law.
The message here is that those who are most vehemently against the Catholic Church can be the most vocal supporters once they learn the truth. So you who have anti-Catholic friends who say they sincerely love Christ, should be open to the idea that they could be a prime target for evangelization in the true faith. One group that comes to mind here, is those who have left the Church; Often they have left because they have not been catechized.
The Gospel enforces this message when it states “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature”. Jesus is speaking to the eleven, but the message is for each of us. How can someone know the truth if no one tells them the truth. We are called to evangelize, in speaking the truth and in the way we live our Catholic faith.