Junia, female Apostle

Brothers and sisters:
Greet Prisca and Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus,
who risked their necks for my life,
to whom not only I am grateful but also all the churches of the Gentiles;
greet also the Church at their house.
Greet my beloved Epaenetus,
who was the firstfruits in Asia for Christ.
Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you.
Greet Andronicus and Junia,
my relatives and my fellow prisoners;
they are prominent among the Apostles
and they were in Christ before me.
Greet Ampliatus, my beloved in the Lord.
Greet Urbanus, our co-worker in Christ,
and my beloved Stachys.
Greet one another with a holy kiss.
All the churches of Christ greet you.

Romans 16:3-9

Junia the Apostle, modern icon

Junia the Apostle, modern icon

I found these icons on the interests but couldn’t find information on the image origins.

For an overview of the scholarly questions about Paul’s reference to Junia as an apostle, see this article, which also includes references for further reading.

St. Paul, Apostle to the Gentiles

I myself am convinced about you, my brothers and sisters,
that you yourselves are full of goodness,
filled with all knowledge, and able to admonish one another.
But I have written to you rather boldly in some respects to remind you,
because of the grace given me by God
to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles
in performing the priestly service of the Gospel of God,
so that the offering up of the Gentiles may be acceptable,
sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to boast in what pertains to God.
For I will not dare to speak of anything
except what Christ has accomplished through me
to lead the Gentiles to obedience by word and deed,
by the power of signs and wonders,
by the power of the Spirit of God,
so that from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum
I have finished preaching the Gospel of Christ.
Thus I aspire to proclaim the Gospel
not where Christ has already been named,
so that I do not build on another’s foundation,
but as it is written:

Those who have never been told of him shall see,
and those who have never heard of him shall understand.

Romans 15:14-21


St. Paul on the Road to Damascus, Caravaggio, 1600-01, Santa Maria Popolo, Rome

St. Paul on the Road to Damascus, Caravaggio, 1600-01, Santa Maria del Popolo, Rome


I am a huge fan of Caravaggio, as my readers know, and this is one of my favorite paintings by him. We see Paul, thrown from his horse and sprawled on his back, blinded as he gropes toward the vision that only he can see. The horse and groom appear unconcerned, which only serves to highlight Paul’s distress. Caravaggio uses a technique known as tenebrism, with a spotlight illuminating the scene and offering strong contrasts of light and dark. The unusual composition is mostly taken up with the horse, but the red cloak draws our eyes down to the stricken apostle.

Have you experienced a similarly disorienting conversion? Okay, so maybe you weren’t literally thrown from a horse! But perhaps you were thrown off your life’s course in unexpected ways by the sudden, possibly unwelcome, invasion of grace. I know I sure was! Like Saul, who persecuted the early church, I thought the last thing I could ever possibly become was a Christian! Yet it happened. And God still has to sometimes knock me from my horse, so to speak, to set me on the right path. I see myself in Paul, laying stunned on the road, groping blindly for a clearer vision of God’s will for my life.

What about you?

St. Paul Preaching in Rome

St. Paul Among the Ruins, Giovanni Paolo Panini, 1791, Prado Museum, Madrid

St. Paul Among the Ruins, Giovanni Paolo Panini, 1791, Prado Museum, Madrid

Brothers and sisters:
I know that good does not dwell in me, that is, in my flesh.
The willing is ready at hand, but doing the good is not.
For I do not do the good I want,
but I do the evil I do not want.
Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it,
but sin that dwells in me.
So, then, I discover the principle
that when I want to do right, evil is at hand.
For I take delight in the law of God, in my inner self,
but I see in my members another principle
at war with the law of my mind,
taking me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.
Miserable one that I am!
Who will deliver me from this mortal body?
Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 7:18-25