Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, the Apostle
FIRST READING: Acts 22: 3 - 16 Or Acts 9: 1 - 22
3 "I am a Jew, born at Tarsus in Cili'cia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gama'li-el, educated according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God as you all are this day.
4 I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering to prison both men and women,
5 as the high priest and the whole council of elders bear me witness. From them I received letters to the brethren, and I journeyed to Damascus to take those also who were there and bring them in bonds to Jerusalem to be punished.
6 "As I made my journey and drew near to Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone about me.
7 And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, `Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?'
8 And I answered, `Who are you, Lord?' And he said to me, `I am Jesus of Nazareth whom you are persecuting.'
9 Now those who were with me saw the light but did not hear the voice of the one who was speaking to me.
10 And I said, `What shall I do, Lord?' And the Lord said to me, `Rise, and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all that is appointed for you to do.'
11 And when I could not see because of the brightness of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me, and came into Damascus.
12 "And one Anani'as, a devout man according to the law, well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there,
13 came to me, and standing by me said to me, `Brother Saul, receive your sight.' And in that very hour I received my sight and saw him.
14 And he said, `The God of our fathers appointed you to know his will, to see the Just One and to hear a voice from his mouth;
15 for you will be a witness for him to all men of what you have seen and heard.
16 And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on his name.'
1 But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest
2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.
3 Now as he journeyed he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed about him.
4 And he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?"
5 And he said, "Who are you, Lord?" And he said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting;
6 but rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do."
7 The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one.
8 Saul arose from the ground; and when his eyes were opened, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus.
9 And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
10 Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Anani'as. The Lord said to him in a vision, "Anani'as." And he said, "Here I am, Lord."
11 And the Lord said to him, "Rise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for a man of Tarsus named Saul; for behold, he is praying,
12 and he has seen a man named Anani'as come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight."
13 But Anani'as answered, "Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to thy saints at Jerusalem;
14 and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call upon thy name."
15 But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel;
16 for I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name."
17 So Anani'as departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came, has sent me that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit."
18 And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized,
19 and took food and was strengthened. For several days he was with the disciples at Damascus.
20 And in the synagogues immediately he proclaimed Jesus, saying, "He is the Son of God."
21 And all who heard him were amazed, and said, "Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those who called on this name? And he has come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests."
22 But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.
PSALM: Psalms 117: 1 - 2
1 Praise the LORD, all nations! Extol him, all peoples!
2 For great is his steadfast love toward us; and the faithfulness of the LORD endures for ever. Praise the LORD!
GOSPEL: Mark 16: 15 - 18
15 And he said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation.
16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.
17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues;
18 they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover."