Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me.” (John 6:56-57)
Just as it wasn’t a mere coincidence that the Ethiopian Eunuch met Philip, it wasn’t an ordinary coincidence that Saul met Ananias. God is totally in control of everything that happens on Earth. The saying is true: “When we entrust our lives to God, we begin the see the hand of God in everything.”
Saul set out with letters authorising him to persecute Christians but Jesus dramatically arrested him on the way to Damascus. “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” asked Jesus. This question reveals one sublime truth: that Christians are literally the body of Christ. Anyone who is fighting a Christian is fighting Christ. Anyone is who making life difficult for you just because you are a Christian is contending with God.
In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus continues his conversation with the crowd who had earlier on eaten their fill of the loaves and fishes. They wanted Jesus to work the miracle again but Jesus told him to labour for bread that lasts forever. When the crowd demanded this bread, Jesus made it clear that He is himself the bread of life.
Jesus wasn’t speaking figuratively. Jesus literally meant what He said: “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him” “He who eats me will live because of me” and “He who eats this bread will live forever.” There is a fine saying that you are what you eat. When we eat Jesus’ flesh in Holy Communion, we become part of Jesus. Jesus abides in us and we in Jesus. This is why when Jesus appeared to Saul on his way to Damascus, Jesus asked: “Why do you persecute me?” instead of “Why are you persecuting Christians?”
If we understand what happens each time we receive Holy Communion, we would realize that we have the best protection any human being can ever have. Just as Jesus protected the Christians in Damascus from Saul’s raid, Jesus would surely protect you from the plans of your enemies whether known or unknown. Jesus assures us that whoever eats Him will live because of Him. No one can cut short your life because you are a child of communion – you are not just anybody.
Again, knowing that we are part of Jesus through our reception of Holy Communion let us strive to live holy and sinless lives. Above all, while people looked at Saul and saw in him a murderer and a terrorist, God saw in Saul an instrument of the Gospel. Jesus did not arrest Saul just to punish him, rather Jesus transformed Saul into a minister of the Gospel. Avoid praying for your enemies to die, instead, pray that God may so use them for good as He did with Saul who later became Paul.
Let us pray: Heavenly Father, may I worthily receive your body and blood. Work in me and through me for good. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Bible Study: Acts 9:1-20, Ps. 117, John 6:52-59)*
@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu