Page 44 - Easter2012v3

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Acts of the Apostles 9 1-20
Psalm 117:1BC, 2
John 6:52-59
Today˅s first reading recalls the dramatic conversion of St. Paul on the road to
Damascus. There, he intended to further his quest to rid the earth of Christianity
and its followers. Suddenly, Saul was blinded by light from heaven and con-
fronted by the Lord, who identified Himself as Jesus, whom Saul had been per-
secuting. As a result of reflection on this vision, Saul recognized the truth of who
Jesus was and so changed his life. Perhaps equally impressive is this day˅s
Gospel reading. Here the Lord solemnly assures us that if we do not eat the flesh
of the Son of Man and drink His blood, we will have no life in us. On the other
hand, if we eat His flesh and drink His blood, we will have eternal life.
These two readings are a strong invitation to meditation and prayer. Jesus˅
words, ˈSaul, why are you persecuting meˉ clearly implied that Saul˅s persecution
of the church was a persecution of the Lord. It seems that Saul still did not real-
ize who the Lord was, because Saul asked the Lord who he was. The Lord iden-
tified Himself as the Jesus, whom Saul had been persecuting. Jesus was alive!
Jesus was Lord and not a false prophet. And, Jesus took the persecution of
Christians personally. Jesus told Saul to proceed to Damascus, where he would
be given his next instructions. Saul is taken to Damascus, where he awaits the
coming of a reluctant Ananias, who will cure his blindness. The Lord had ap-
peared to Ananias in a vision and told him that Saul would not only be a brother
but that he would also be His instrument for bringing the gospel to Gentiles too.
After three days of fasting, and having had his sight returned to him, Saul realized
that the Holy Spirit was going to be at work in him and that God was going to turn
him around. Reflecting on this, we realize that no matter how well we can live our
lives, we cannot get to Heaven on our own, but only by the Lord, and only by
conforming ourselves to Him as Saint Paul did.