Gospel for April 27, 2012, Friday
3rd Week of Easter
1st Reading: Acts 9:1-20
Saul considered nothing but violence and death for the disciples of the Lord. He went to the High Priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues of Damascus that would authorize him to arrest and bring to Jerusalem anyone he might find, man or woman, belonging to the Way.
As he traveled along and was approaching Damascus, a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul! Why do you persecute me?” And he asked, “Who are you, Lord?” The voice replied, “I am Jesus whom you persecute. Now get up and go into the city; there you will be told what you are to do.”
The men who were traveling with him stood there speechless: they had heard the sound, but could see no one. Saul got up from the ground and, opening his eyes, he could not see. They took him by the hand and brought him to Damascus. He was blind and he did not eat or drink for three days.
There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias, to whom the Lord called in a vision, “Ananias!” He answered, “Here I am, Lord!” Then the Lord said to him, “Go at once to Straight Street and ask, at the house of Judas, for a man of Tarsus named Saul. You will find him praying, for he has just seen in a vision that a man named Ananias has come in and placed his hands upon him, to restore his sight.”
Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many sources about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem, and now he is here with authority from the High Priest to arrest all who call upon your name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to bring my name to the pagan nations and their kings, and the people of Israel as well. I myself will show him how much he will have to suffer for my name.”
So Ananias left and went to the house. He laid his hands upon Saul and said, “Saul, my brother, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me to you so that you may receive your sight and be filled with Holy Spirit.” Immediately something like scales fell from his eyes and he could see; he got up and was baptized. Then he took food and was strengthened.
For several days Saul stayed with the disciples at Damascus, and he soon began to proclaim in the synagogues that Jesus was the Son of God.
Gospel: John 6:52-59
The Jews were arguing among themselves, “How can this man give us flesh to eat?” So Jesus replied, “Truly, I say to you, if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. The one who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives with eternal life and I will raise him up on the last day.
“My flesh is really food and my blood is drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood, live in me and I in them. Just as the Father, who is life, sent me and I have life from the Father, so whoever eats me will have life from me. This is the bread which came from heaven; unlike that of your ancestors, who ate and later died. Those who eat this bread will live forever.”
Jesus spoke in this way in Capernaum when he taught them in the synagogue.
“Flesh and blood” means the full presence and reality of a person. “Eat my flesh and drink my blood,” he said. “But, but…” is what we have heard people say through the ages as at the beginning. To eat is to assimilate completely: your food is in your stomach, but on its way to becoming you. We are invited to assimilate deeply the full presence and reality of Christ. When you become knotted up in technical ifs and buts about how Christ is present in the Eucharist, just cut the knot and go back to the basic meaning. Jesus himself gave no explanation when asked.
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