Deacon Stu Dobson’s Reflection
Friday of the 3rd week of Easter, May 6, 2022
Acts 9:1-20; Ps 117:1 bc, 2; Jn 6:52-59
Almost 40 years ago, I was asked if I would be willing to go on a three-day retreat. If they would have asked me a year or two before then, I probably would have said no, but in the year before the retreat, I had started going back to church. God had been begging me to come back to Him and it started with a little nudging to go back to church. At the retreat, there were many times of talks, discussions, and individual prayer time, but there was also an abundance of music. One of the songs kind of became the theme song as they played it quite frequently. It was the song, “I am the Bread of Life.” I had never heard the song before, but the words resonated in my heart, and of course, they explained the connection to John 6:52-59, our Gospel reading for today. I will never forget that retreat and how much my heart was opened to God. I was finally beginning to understand the love of God and what Jesus did for all of us on the cross. That Easter became most memorable for me as I now truly understood what it meant to receive the body and blood of Christ.
In our first reading, Saul, who becomes St. Paul, also had a dramatic conversion. Here he was persecuting the Christians, or the Way, as they were called, and suddenly Jesus appears to him. If that is not enough, Jesus tells Ananias, Saul is Jesus’ chosen instrument to spread the Gospel to the rest of the world. If it were not for Saul’s conversion and Ananias answering Jesus’s call, we would not have the wonderful teachings and stories about St. Paul. St. Paul’s love for Jesus came from that sudden and personal interaction he had with Jesus. But it did not stop there, Paul was relentless in telling everyone about Jesus and how important it was to receive Him, body and blood. It is through that communion with Jesus that we have that everlasting life.
Think back on that moment that Jesus became personal in your life, and if you do not feel that has happened yet, take some time and meditate about it. Jesus wants us all to be his personal friend. Just like the encounter He had with Paul, Jesus wants to be part of our lives, and He wants us to be part of His. Paul got that, so much so that the words, “for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks” were constantly on Paul’s mind and lips. We, too, can have that same amount of love for Jesus. Think back to your first real encounter with Jesus, remember that love, and be ready to do His will, just like Paul and Ananias.