One Monk of the Order of Saint Benedict

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The Word of God and the Body of God reveal each other -- the homily worships both.

May 04, 2006

For Friday of the Third Week of Easter

John 6:52-59
Acts 9:1-20

Today in the book of Acts we witness the dramatic event of St. Paul’s conversion.
Christ gave Paul little room for choice.
Christ did VIOLENCE to Paul, lashing out at Paul from heaven, throwing him to the ground, and striking him blind.
Christ himself demanded out loud, “WHY DO YOU PERSECUTE ME?”
Christ is the one whom Paul had thought to be a mere dead criminal executed for lies and blasphemy.
Christ does not INVITE Paul to believe, but ORDERS him into the city of Damascus.
There, after three days without sight or food and drink, Paul receives his sight again together with Christian baptism at the hands of a follower of the same Jesus Lord and God.
This is Paul’s conversion and salvation— a fearsome and violent crisis.
Paul came to know many sides of the Lord, perhaps more sides than any one of us might be willing to face.
All this week, including today, the Lord in his Gospel has put in our own faces a crisis demanding our faith.
It certainly was a crisis for his first followers.
Because of what the Lord is teaching this week, many of his first followers decided to break away and no longer follow him.
Let us remember: it is the Lord’s proclamation of the eating and drinking of his body and blood that determines in the Gospel who would believe in him and who would not.
The Eucharist is the first, the last and the ONLY instance in our Lord’s Gospel in which he gives his followers the choice of leaving or staying.
In his Gospel the Lord gives his Eucharist as the bottom-line condition for the FULL and UNCONDITIONAL faith in HIM and ALL that he reveals.
Christ, who is the Son of God, IS SPIRIT AND LIFE together with the Father.
His entire self, his real flesh, his real blood and his words are spirit and life.
He gives us the same spirit and life he has with the Father, the same spirit and life with which he rose from the dead.
The Eucharist is Christ’s proclamation in his own flesh and blood that he is the Son of God born in human flesh and blood.
His Eucharist also proclaims that he rose from the dead in glorified but still human flesh and blood.
To receive the Eucharist is to receive and renew the resurrection of our own bodies— the resurrection that is really ours through baptism and faith.
To receive the Eucharist with faith is to remain in and with Christ as sons and daughters of God.
In the Eucharist itself, here and now, we celebrate and consume all that Christ proclaims, all that Christ is.
Let us be faithful to him, living as he lived, so that we might live as he now lives.

That God Be Glorified in All


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