Thursday, May 04, 2006
Friday 3rd Week of Easter
May 5, 2006
Friday 3rd Week of Easter - Yr II
Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the
Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the
synagogues in Damascus, that, if he should find any men or women who
belonged to the Way, he might bring them back to Jerusalem in chains.
On his journey, as he was nearing 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 are you persecuting me?" He said, "Who
are you, sir?" The reply came, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.
Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do."
The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, for they heard
the voice but could see no one. Saul got up from the ground, but when
he opened his eyes he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand
and brought him to Damascus. For three days he was unable to see, and
he neither ate nor drank. There was a disciple in Damascus named
Ananias, and the Lord said to him in a vision, "Ananias." He answered,
"Here I am, Lord." The Lord said to him, "Get up and go to the street
called Straight and ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus
named Saul. He is there praying, and in a vision he has seen a man
named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him, that he may regain his
sight." But Ananias replied, "Lord, I have heard from many sources
about this man, what evil things he has done to your holy ones in
Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to imprison
all who call upon your name." But the Lord said to him, "Go, for this
man is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before Gentiles,
kings, and children of Israel, and I will show him what he will have to
suffer for my name." So Ananias went and entered the house; laying his
hands on him, he said, "Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me, Jesus
who appeared to you on the way by which you came, that you may regain
your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit." Immediately things like
scales fell from his eyes and he regained his sight. He got up and was
baptized, and when he had eaten, he recovered his strength. He stayed
some days with the disciples in Damascus, and he began at once to
proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.
The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us
his Flesh to eat?" Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink his Blood, you do
not have life within you. Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood has
eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my Flesh is
true food, and my Blood is true drink. Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks
my Blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me
and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me
will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from
heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this
bread will live forever." These things he said while teaching in the
synagogue in Capernaum.
How sudden and thorough was Paul's conversion! One minute he was the
fiery persecutor of the new Way, breathing threats against it and
casting into prison adherents of this new Way. The next moment, he is
the passionate advocate of the very Way he had been persecuting. Why
this momentous change in his attitude, his belief, his life?
When Ananias protested that he did not want to visit Saul as God
commanded him to do, God issued a stern command to him, "You must go!"
What God then says to Ananias is the only explanation we have for
Saul's conversion and no further explanation is necessary: "This man is
the instrument I have chosen to bring my name to the Gentiles and their
kings and to the people of Israel." God intervened in Saul's life with
such grace and power, that Saul, being the man he was, could not but
Being the people we are, our "yes" often enough is not quite as
spontaneous or as resolute as was Saul's. We're more like Ananias and
those people Jesus was addressing in today's Gospel. "How can this
Jesus of Nazareth give us his flesh to eat?" In reply Jesus doesn't
answer the question "how?" He simply reasserts his earlier statement.
He reasserts it several times, each time using different words and
phrases. Perhaps it's Paul being so enthusiastic, so totally dedicated
to what he believes in, or maybe it's his openness to mystery, to what
Gandhi was much like Paul, absolutely dedicated to his conviction. In
Gandhi's case the conviction was that non-violent resistance was a
righteous and effective means to win freedom for his country.
Furthermore, Gandhi did not shy from the mysterious. He recognized
wisdom and goodness, where others saw only a lack of logic. On one
occasion Gandhi asked an acquaintance, a Catholic priest, to explain to
him what Catholics believed in regard to the Eucharist. When the priest
finished his exposition, Gandhi was quiet for a while. Then he
remarked, "If God wants to come to a hungry world, it's proper that he
should come to it as food." You've noticed Gandhi did not ask the
Perhaps if we felt no need to find the answer to this question, "how,"
if we would simply accept the mystery that surrounds Jesus, we would
find our conviction and our enthusiasm for the faith multiplying a
We pray ...
- for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the unborn.
- for the speedy recovery of David. May the Holy Spirit guide his
doctors and caregivers.
- for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
- for world peace and reconciliation.
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our
prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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