FRIday 28 APRIL
SAINT Pierre Chanel,
He was born in France in 1803. He had been a priest for three years when he was accepted by the Marists and sent to evangelize the Pacific. There he was killed, becoming the first martyr of the South Seas.
Entrance Antiphon: Rv 5: 12
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and divinity, and wisdom and strength and honour, alleluia.
Grant, we pray, almighty God, that we, who have come to know the grace of the Lord’s Resurrection, may, through the love of the Spirit, ourselves rise to newness of life. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
First reading: Acts 9:1-20
Saul was still breathing threats to slaughter the Lord’s disciples. He had gone to the high priest and asked for letters addressed to the synagogues in Damascus, that would authorise him to arrest and take to Jerusalem any followers of the Way, men or women, that he could find. Suddenly, while he was travelling to Damascus and just before he reached the city, there came a light from heaven all round him. He fell to the ground, and then he heard a voice saying, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” “Who are you, Lord?” he asked, and the voice answered, “I am Jesus, and you are persecuting me. Get up now and go into the city, and you will be told what you have to do.” The men travelling with Saul stood there speechless, for though they heard the voice they could see no one. Saul got up from the ground, but even with his eyes wide open he could see nothing at all, and they had to lead him into Damascus by the hand. For three days he was without his sight, and took neither food nor drink. A disciple called Ananias who lived in Damascus had a vision in which he heard the Lord say to him, “Ananias!” When he replied, “Here I am, Lord”, the Lord said, “You must go to Straight Street and ask the house of Judas for someone called Saul, who comes from Tarsus. At this moment he is praying, having had a vision of a man called Ananias coming in and laying hands on him to give him back his sight.” When he heard that, Ananias said, “Lord, several people have told me about this man and all the harm he has been doing to your saints in Jerusalem. He has only come here because he holds a warrant from the chief priests to arrest everybody who invokes your name.” The Lord replied, “You must go all the same, because this man is my chosen instrument to bring my name before pagans and pagan kings and before the people of Israel; I myself will show him how much he himself must suffer for my name.” Then Ananias went. He entered the house, and at once laid his hands on Saul and said, “Brother Saul, I have been sent by the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on your way here so that you may recover your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately it was as though scales fell away from Saul’s eyes and he could see again. So he was baptised there and then, and after taking some food he regained his strength. He began preaching in the synagogues, “Jesus is the Son of God.”
R/Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News.
O praise the Lord, all you nations, acclaim him all you peoples!
Strong is his love for us; he is faithful for ever.
Gospel Acclamation: cf.Lk24:46, 26
Alleluia, alleluia! It was ordained that the Christ should suffer and rise from the dead, and so enter into his glory. Alleluia!
Gospel: John 6:52-59
The Jews started arguing with one another: “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” they said. Jesus replied: “I tell you most solemnly, if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you will not have life in you. Anyone who does eat my flesh and drink my blood has eternal life, and I shall raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I live in him. As I, who am sent by the living Father, myself draw life from the Father, so whoever eats me will draw life from me. This is the bread come down from heaven; not like the bread our ancestors ate: they are dead, but anyone who eats this bread will live for ever.” He taught this doctrine at Capernaum, in the synagogue.
Prayer over the Offerings
Graciously sanctify these gifts, O Lord, we pray, and, accepting the oblation of this spiritual sacrifice, make of us an eternal offering to you. Through Christ our Lord.
The Crucified is risen from the dead and has redeemed us, alleluia.
Prayer after Communion
We have partaken of the gifts of this sacred mystery, humbly imploring, O Lord, that what your Son commanded us to do in memory of him may bring us growth in charity. Through Christ our Lord.
Jesus’ statement: “The bread I will give is my flesh” is a scandal for the Jews. How can he give his flesh to eat? More than 2000 years of Christianity, this truth remains disturbing. It is understandable that many stopped following Jesus at that point! But Jesus insists: “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you will not have life in you” (Jn 6:53). Jesus’ insistence on the necessity of eating his flesh and drinking his blood expresses a radical truth: it is in Jesus Christ that salvation and eternal life are given. It cannot be otherwise. While these words may be shocking, they are the heart of our faith. The Church cannot exist without the Eucharist, and true life is given only through the gift of the life of Jesus. It is a mystery to be believed, contemplated and lived. In the end, the practice of the Eucharist leads us to live through Jesus as Saint Paul says: “I live, but it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. (Gal 2: 20)