The Conversion of Paul
By REV. FR. SAMUEL FREDERICK
Acts 9:1-20, Jn 6:52-59. Today's first reading provides us with the account of Paul’s life-changing experience on the road to Damascus. To understand how radical this encounter was for Paul, we need to think about who Saul of Tarsus was. Saul was a Pharisee, a strict Jew who followed the precepts of the law to the greatest extreme. Saul was also a Roman citizen who was fluent in Greek, as well as Hebrew. Saul was so caught up in fulfilling the letter of the law that he was totally committed to the religious philosophy and legalism of Judaism. He believed in doing right, an ardent adherence to all laws, even if it hurt his relationship with others. Saul thought he had a duty to purge Judaism of anything and anyone who did not fit into his understanding of what the Judaic law prescribed. On his journey to arrest the Christians whom he considered to be “heretical” Jews, Saul was enlightened. When confronted with the Light, he realises his blindness, not only physical blindness, but also blindness to the Truth. He is not just trying to exterminate the followers of Jesus, He persecuted Jesus Himself.
For three days, Saul remains in darkness, unable to see. Jesus called upon one of the Christian faithful in Damascus to go to Saul and bring him healing and to be the instrument God to restore Saul’s sight. Ananias obviously was concerned about going to the person who has authority to arrest Christians. Yet God has chosen Saul for important work: the proclamation of the goodnews of Jesus Christ who offered Himself to His followers under the form of bread and wine. In today's Gospel, Jesus knew He will not stay with His disciples in His earthly Body when He ascends to Heaven: “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” Responding to that scornful question, Jesus said that not only should people “eat His Flesh” but they should also “drink His Blood.” The same Jesus who gave His life for us on the Cross, gave Himself to us in sacramental form, as our food of the Eucharist. Jesus became food and drink so that we may draw life from Him: “Whoever eats me will draw life from me.” The life flowing from Jesus as He died upon the Cross, symbolised by the blood and water, is shared for us when we eat His Body and drink His Blood in communion. We receive the Holy Communion in order to draw life from Christ, as branches draw life from the vine. We are then sent out from the Eucharist with the mission to live by his life.
May the Lord let the light of His face shine upon us, free us from sin and fill us with His goodness! Amen!! Good morning, it is well with you!!!