Today's feast of St. Matthew (the "publican") got me thinking about the paradoxes in the way Jesus called his disciples. We see the one by one (at times two by two) of people like Peter or Philip or Nathanael, or the two "sons of thunder." By all accounts, these were fervent and observant Jews, and a good half (at least) seem to have been disciples of John the Baptist. And then you come to Matthew at his tax collection station. Here is someone allied with the enemy. Definitely on the wrong side. And it is he, and not the hapless person getting assessed, that hears and responds to the "Come, follow me."
What Matthew was to his own people, Paul was to the early Christian community. Definitely someone whose gaze you would try to avoid. And he's the one who hears the voice of God!
Truly, "not as man sees does God see."