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Full Union and Healing

First 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: Psalm 117:1BC, 2

R. (Mark 16:15) Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
Praise the LORD, all you nations;
glorify him, all you peoples!
R. Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
For steadfast is his kindness toward us,
and the fidelity of the LORD endures forever.
R. Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.

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.

NAB

DEV_A15

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life.”

The first time I heard this Gospel, all I could think of was Bram Stoker’s classic Dracula. Since I struggled with the “eat my flesh, drink my blood” thing, I couldn’t get beyond the literal interpretation. Ninth grade Mary was totally grossed out. Luckily, I grew up. Now, when I hear it with adult ears, I understand Saint John is encouraging us to enter into a robust relationship with the Lord by receiving Him in the Eucharist.

The Eucharist is the source and summit of our Catholic faith. When we receive Our Lord, He enters fully into us and we into Him. We are in complete and total communion. Nothing hidden, everything shared. We are never closer to God than in those few minutes our body receives Him. It’s a true miracle requiring a true faith.

“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.” For many outside the Catholic Church, these words are often misunderstood and cause fear and anger. But when I read this passage, all I hear is Jesus’ familiar, straight-talking truth. If we want a relationship with Him, and any shot at eternal life with Him, we must do as He asks. As a wife receives her husband in the intimate marital embrace, we receive Our Lord in Holy Communion. Two shall become one.

Come to Him, humbly and in earnest, and enter into the relationship He offers. Allow Jesus to see and heal what’s hidden. Hold nothing back. Not your sin, your shame, or your brokenness, His mercy and grace will heal it all and you’ll be brought to new life.

We’ve been given two incredible sacraments in the church to help build this relationship: Holy Communion and Reconciliation. Take advantage of every opportunity for that divine conversation, my friends. God will always meet you where you are and He’ll never let you down.

photo credit

Mary Lenaburg married her first (and only) blind date going on 27 years ago, is a full-time liturgy coordinator, and parents one adult son navigating his path on earth and a special needs daughter safely in Heaven. You can find out more about her here.

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