ANANIAS, A GODLY DISCIPLE (Fr. Varghese Paul, SJ)

The Greek name Ananias means God is graciousor Jehovah has been gracious. We have three persons with the name Ananias in the New Testament.

Here we portray the character of Ananias who is the Christian disciple at Damascus. The other two are Ananias, the husband of Sapphira (Acts 5, 1-6) and Ananias, the high priest anointed by Herod. (Acts 23, 2; 24, 1).

The Christian disciple Ananias, in spite of his fear and reservations against Saul, welcomed the persecutor of Christians and baptized him at the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Ananias mission to welcome and baptize Saul is vividly described in The Acts.

There was a Christian in Damascus named Ananias. He had a vision, in which the Lord said to him, Ananias!

Here I am, Lord, he answered.

The Lord said to him, Get ready and go to Straight Street, and at the house of Judas ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is praying, and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come in and place his hands no him so that he might see again(Acts 9, 10-12).

Ananias response to the prompting of the Spirit was prompt and positive. The narratives in the Acts continues,

Ananias answered, Lord, many people have told me about this man and about all the terrible things he has done to your people in Jerusalem. And he has come to Damascus with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who worship you.

The Lord said to him, Go, because I have chosen him to serve me, to make my name known to Gentiles and kings and to the people of Israel. And I myself will show him all that he must suffer for my sake(Acts 9, 13-16).

Annanias opposition and misgivings against Saul disappear completely as he listened to the words of the Lord.

So transformed in Spirit Ananias approaches Saul without any grudge and tells him that Jesus himself has sent him and reassures Saul. The Acts says,

So Ananias went, entered the house where Saul was, and placed his hands on him. Brother Saul, he said, the Lord has sent me-Jesus himself, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here. He sent me so that you might see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit. At once something like fish scales fell from Sauls eyes, and he was able to see again. He stood up and was baptized; and after he had eaten, his strength came back(Acts 9, 17-19).

In spite of knowing that Saul was a deadly enemy of Jesus and the persecutor of Christians, Ananias, at the prompting of the Spirit of Jesus welcomed and baptized Saul with an open heart and an open mind. This happened in the year 36.

No wander that many years later Saul turned Paul calls Ananias a respected religious man men while narrating his conversion experiences. Paul says,

In that city was a man named Ananias, a religious man who obeyed our Law and was highly respected by all the Jews living there. He came to me, stood by me, and said, Brother Saul, see again! At that very moment I saw again and looked at him(Acts 22, 12-13).

Here Pauls words revel his affection and high esteem for Ananias.

Ananias is a great example for us that we should not cling to our antagonism and opposition to people forever even when they are based on concrete facts. People change, and often change for better. (contact the author: यह ईमेल पता spambots से संरक्षित किया जा रहा है. आप जावास्क्रिप्ट यह देखने के सक्षम होना चाहिए. )

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