10 May 2017
It’s been said that “Christians aren’t born, they’re made.” And that seems to be largely true. When we think of so many of the saints, they became saints—in time, eventually. It didn’t happen all at once; instead, their lives of holiness needed time to unfold. And they needed to be molded and shaped by the Holy Spirit to become who they became.
We see this with St. Paul. In our reading from the Acts of the Apostles today, Paul wasn’t called Paul yet—he was still referred to as “Saul.” But, gradually, as Saul began to live his new life in Christ, and as he began to figure out what it means to be a Christian, he starts to be referred to as “Paul.” He wasn’t born “Paul;” he became the person we know as “Paul.”
We could say the same about St. Peter. He was given the name “Peter” by Jesus; and the name “Peter” means “rock.” But, you know, when Jesus was being arrested and crucified, Peter was hardly what we’d call a “rock” of faith. He had the name Peter, but at that point he wasn’t Peter yet. That happened later.
Christians aren’t born, they’re made. In time, we figure out what it means to be a follower of Christ. And so, we shouldn’t get discouraged when we fail, when we sin, when screw up yet again. We weren’t born Christians; we were baptized Christians and, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we’ll gradually flourish as Christians.