Acts 9:1-20; Psalm 117; John 6:52-59
The Gospel is a continuation of yesterday’s statement from Jesus: The bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh. Jesus speaks of giving THE bread for the life of the world. This Bread is his flesh. Which is why the people ask: How can this man give us his flesh to eat. Contrary to what Jesus does in the Gospel of John, where he explains what he means, Jesus held fast: Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you… For my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Jesus insists he is speaking literally. The Bread he gives is his Flesh and Blood. Jesus concludes this teaching: so whoever eats me will live because of me. Jesus wants us to eat him in the bread he gives which is his flesh. The word eat literally means to corrode, or wear out, to gnaw and chew. These terms apply to something physical. How will you apply this to the bread Jesus speaks about symbolically?
Jesus meant this in the literal sense, that we need to eat THE Bread he gives which is his flesh and blood so we can have life! The Bread we receive at mass is the sacramental presence of Jesus. This is the teaching of the Catholic Church since the time of the Apostles. If you do not believe, and are seriously searching for the truth, I challenge you to go to a Catholic Church, look for the Tabernacle and sit there for a while and ask Jesus to reveal himself to you. Jesus always answers this kind of prayer.
Saul was a Pharisee. He strictly obey the Jewish law, such that as we read in the First Readings early this week, he approved of the execution of Stephen because Stephen preached what Saul thought was contrary to his beliefs. He then pursued Christians and threw them to prison. Saul was zealous for the truth which he thought his faith taught. Then he met Jesus in today’s First Reading.
Just as an aside, the First Reading does not mention Saul riding a horse. It just said he fell to the ground. The encounter with Jesus changed Saul’s heart. Jesus tells Ananias in a vision, that at that moment, Saul was praying and has seen a man named Ananias come to him and lay hands on him so he may be healed. Ananias protested but obeyed. Saul was healed and was baptized and for several days, Saul was with the disciples and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues saying Jesus is the Son of God.
Saul was interested in the Truth. He was not a zealot who was fixed on his ideas. He was willing to change his image of God when Jesus revealed himself. Similarly, we need to pursue the truth and let nothing stop us from doing so. What is the Truth, as Pilate asked Jesus. Jesus said, I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. The truth is not a concept. The Truth is a Person and his name is Jesus. When Saul encountered the Truth, who is Jesus, literally, something like scales fell from his eyes. He saw clearly, that the Truth is Jesus. And with the same zeal he had for his faith, he proclaimed his faith in Jesus Christ who is the fulfillment of his Jewish faith.
God used Saul, someone who burned with hatred against Christians, to bring his name before Gentiles and kings. God can use you also, if you pursue the Truth, who is Jesus Christ, present in the Blessed Sacrament. What are your sins? What are your doubts? What are your fears? What causes you shame and guilt. All these are nothing in the face of the Truth, who is Jesus Christ. Jesus calls you to himself, so you can know the Truth, and he will set you free. You are worth more than you think. God calls you to himself because you loves you and died for you. Come to Jesus.
Lord Jesus, I am a sinner. I come to you seeking the Truth. I come searching for you. Reveal yourself to me. I have lived my life with my false image of who you are. Let me see you Lord. You have said, ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and the door will be opened. I come, asking you to reveal yourself to me. I come, seeking you. I come, knocking at your door. I know, you will reveal yourself to me. I know I will find you. I know you will open the door to a new life for me. Jesus, I trust you.