In graduate school, one of my required classes was Pauline Literature. The priest who taught loved Saint Paul something mighty fierce; to the point he would dress in costume (complete with chains!) and proclaim the words of Paul from the Roman prison where he was held captive. Ladies, this was a show . . . sometimes we even had popcorn! When I read the letter to the Romans now, sometimes I still see Father Cassidy in my mind walking around in his chains and throwing them on our desks.
I have always loved this title for Saint Paul, Apostle to the Gentiles. Paul was not one of the original twelve Apostles of Jesus, but I have always seen him as an unofficial, honorary one.
Saint Paul became an Apostle to the modern world in which he was living, to the people in the day who knew nothing of the Truth of Jesus Christ. His entire life and mission was to be a witness to the culture and time he lived in. A Gentile was anyone who was not Jewish. They did not know the Torah or possess any knowledge of Judaism or its Scripture.
While we may never be officially dubbed with a title as Saint Paul, we are called to be Apostles to the modern, secular world in a way that was no different than Paul. The world we live in is full of all the same corruptions as the ancient world of Rome, Corinth, or any other city. We are recycling through the same sins and battles. We worship the same idols of greed, power, and sex. We chase after things that our culture promises will bring us meaning and fulfillment.
And that culture, my sisters, is the one we are called to bring Jesus Christ into, just as Saint Paul did.
Stop and think about this today even for a few moments . . . YOU are called to be an Apostle to the modern world, in the way Saint Paul was called to be an Apostle to the Gentiles. What would it look like in your daily life if you really lived like you believed this?
Patty Breen is a runner, youth minister ordinaire, and thinks old movies are the greatest thing since sliced bread. When not fundraising for World Youth Day, she is learning to find grace in all things. You can find out more about her here.