The popular phrase ‘ road to Damascus moment’, and another ‘I have seen the light!’ derives from the time in St Paul’s life given in todays first reading. Saul, a devout Jew, had been persecuting Christians, who he probably viewed as a troublesome and even dangerous sect within judaism. They were likely to cause trouble with the Roman authorities!
His turn around – literal and metaphorical – on that road to Damascus was remarkable – and signified by the change of name to Paul. Without the intervention of Ananias however, it might have gone very differently. Such dramatic moments in our journey to God are rare – it seems – or else no one talks about them! It was through the meeting with Ananias in Damascus that Saul actually found his conversion, the events on the road to Damascus simply preparing him for that encounter with a fellow human.
There are key moments in our lives when God’s grace is poured out into us, and that grace then allows us to be more like him. Perhaps we are about to enter a confrontation at work: a moments prayer before we go in, can lead us to be the one person in that room able to find the compromise leading to a just and peaceful solution. Perhaps our gifts allow us to prevent a violent assault on someone in a late night pub argument. Perhaps we are there when someone needs to have a shoulder to cry on, or the time to listen.
All of these moments can be someone’s Damascus moment: we never know how much of an effect our christian presence in the world can have! We need to be like Ananias – there to respond when God’s call comes to someone close to us.