Friday of the Third Week of Easter, May 10, 2019 

Christ Lives In Me 
Saul’s version of call to discipleship was as dramatic as it was unsettling and unique. We are accustomed to how Jesus called his Twelve and invited others around him. Saul must have been an important person to be commissioned for important and special mission – to have been invited into the gospel partnership with Christ – in this strange manner. The impact was so strong that he went blind and couldn’t eat for days. Those moments were preparatory. It was intensive time for his Postulancy and Novitiate – using terms for Consecrated Life. In Saul, later Paul, Jesus’ net caught a champion. It caught not just a fish but a great fisher of men, the fisher of the gentiles.

1 Reading: ACTS 9:1-20
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. 

Responsorial Psalm: 117:1bc, 2
R. (Mark 16:15) Go out to all the world and tell the Good News. or: R. Alleluia.

Praise the LORD, all you nations;
glorify him, all you peoples! R.

For steadfast is his kindness toward us,
and the fidelity of the LORD endures forever. R.

Alleluia: John 6:56
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood,
remains in me and I in him, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia. 

Gospel: John 6:52-59
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. 

“Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” This is the question of Jesus the Lord when he lets Saul, the persecutor, encounter him on the way to Damascus. Jesus identifies himself with his persecuted disciples. From that moment on, Saul will serve the Lord, whose life he will live. It is an encounter that radically changed Saul into Paul. However, whenever we sin, we persecute the Risen Lord. Unfortunately, unlike Saul, we don’t pay attention to his cry and call: “Sinner, sinner, why do you persecute me?” The evil Saul committed against the early Christians we do each time we commit sin. To sin is to persecute a good and faithful God. A God that suffered and died on our behalf. This is the time, this Eastertide is the opportune moment for an encounter with the risen Lord.
Also, the Lord speaks to us today: “Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood live in me and I live in them.” This will be our encounter with Christ. May this encounter be so deep that it changes us. 

Paul encountered the Lord and he became a totally new person, completely changed. Our encounter with the Lord in the Word, especially, in the Eucharist should bring about such a change in us. For Jesus told us today: “Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood live in me and I in them.” Let him fully live in you, and may Almighty God bless you for this task, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. 

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