Catholic Mass Readings and Reflection April 19, 2024


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R/. Go into all the world, and proclaim the Gospel.

V/. Alleluia

R/. Alleluia

V/. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him, says the Lord.

R/. Alleluia.

At that time: The Jews disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “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. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” Jesus said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum.

1.      Jesus continues to affirm, “I am the bread of life”. Those who receive this bread will experience three aspects: abiding in the Lord, living by the power of the Lord, and living forever. There is a clear contrast between the manna of the past and the living bread. For that matter, there is an enormous contrast between worldly food and heavenly food.

2.   Material food removes only physical hunger, gives bodily strength, grants temporary satisfaction, and enhances the earthly life. But Jesus, the eternal bread of life satiates the deep, interior spiritual hunger and thirst, fills with full strength, gives perpetual satisfaction, and fosters the Spirit-permeated life.

3.      Paul’s conversion marks this transition from what is worldly to what is heavenly. Paul’s conversion is not merely a matter of changing religion. It is a total change of life. This includes the change of perspective and pursuit of life. Saul becomes Paul; the persecutor becomes persecuted; the law is replaced by faith; hatred for Christ becomes a passion for him; violence toward the believers turns into compassion for them.

4.      The three Eucharistic effects are fully operative in Paul. He abides in the Lord and the Lord abides in him. He lives by the power of the Lord and lives in conformity with his values. And his changed life becomes an undaunted orientation to eternity.

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