Apr. 11: Friday of the Third Week of Easter

Caravaggio, The Conversion of St. Paul, Santa Maria del Popolo, Rome, 1600-01

Readings for Mass
First Reading: Acts 9:1-20
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 117:1, 2
Gospel: John 6:52-59

But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel (NRSV, Acts 9:15).”

Let us pray.

Father, an apostle is one who has immediately experienced the risen Lord Jesus and has been sent to announce the good news to the others. Mary Magdalene may have been the first apostle; Paul claims that he is the last.

Paul is important for us, Father, because he is the only apostle who has himself written about resurrection. Indeed, he is the first to write of all of those who have contributed to Christian scripture.

For Paul, and this is so important for us, Father, the resurrection is not resurrection merely of the spiritual principle, or soul. Jesus rose in his entirety, that is, also in the body. But, as Paul experienced it, the body was transformed into something beyond the physical, no longer subject to earthly forces. Jesus did not resurrect back into this earthly life but resurrected into the world to come, a destiny to which we are all called.

Father, Paul encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus in a way that changed his whole life. All of us, Father, in every time and place, experience the Word, now made flesh, at the depth of our being, closer than we are to ourselves, at every moment of our lives. May we be every responsive to this one Word spoken to all of humanity that we too may experience conversion in our lives, not merely on one particular occasion, but in every moment that we live, here in this world and into the next.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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