Once again, the entrance antiphon for this Friday reminds us of Good Friday: “The man who died on the cross has risen from the dead, and has won back our lives from death, Alleluia.” At every Eucharist we celebrate, we remember that Jesus is the one who died for us and rose again, but that is especially the case during this season.
The readings convey to us the truth that Jesus never ceases the saving activity that he began when he preached in Israel. Our first reading dramatically shows that though he has finished his saving work in the flesh, he remains an interested and involved observer of how his Church is carrying on that work. In a rather sensational way, Jesus intervenes to in the life of Saul who is “breathing murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples.” He finds himself lying on the ground, hearing a voice coming from he knows not where. “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting.”
Paul never forgot these words. The revelation changed Saul’s whole perception of life and people. He does not understand how Jesus and Christians can be one, how there can be identity between them, any more than he might try to understand how Jesus can change bread and wine into his Body and Blood for the nourishment of a starving world. He will meditate on this truth for the rest of his life; it will be the foundation of his teaching and preaching:
The body of Christ is the body born of the Virgin Mary.
The body of Christ is the body he offered on the altar of the cross.
The body of Christ is the flesh he promises as food, which if anyone eats, he will live forever.
The body of Christ is the Church in which he continues to live, preach, and heal through all ages.
The body of Christ, the Church, makes present for all peoples what he did during his lifetime on earth.
These truths draw us to the altar again today where we will feed on that Body and place our faith in the resurrection we are promised.
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator