Monday, January 25, 2010

Conversion of St. Paul

A figure that often gets lost is one of the figures that we should know from history, Gamaliel. There can be know doubt of how well St. Paul was formed in the law, because the first reading today tells us of how he studied at the feet of Gamaliel.

Gamaliel is considered to be one of the greatest teachers of the Jewish faith. In the Mishna he is referred to with the title Rabban, the Head of the Sanhedrin. And it is he who is credited during the fight over how to deal with the followers of Jesus with saying "if the Gospel be of men, it will come to naught, but if it be of God, you will not be able to overthrow it"

He was right. It has not been overthrown, and despite sometimes horrific errors in our past, we have brought Jewish/Christian relations to good place in our time. There is still much that we can learn from the study of our parent faith. As we celebrate St. Paul's conversion, let us also take moment today to show reverence for Gamaliel and the formation that prepared St. Paul for this moment.