And he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?” And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” And He said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting; but rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.”
Very often we moderns tend to divvy up reality into little parcels and pit the parcels against each other. One standard way of doing this is to take the reality called Jesus and pit Him against the reality called the Church. In this view, Jesus was the good guy who preached peace, meant well, and was nice, while the Church is just a group of wahoos who came straggling along behind and messed up everything Jesus said and did by layering on a bunch of stuff that Jesus never meant to say. Paul never believed this, because of what Jesus told him in today’s verse. The first time Paul met Jesus, Jesus made no distinction between himself and His body, the Church. Paul was going to beat up Christians, not Christ. Jesus took it as an attack on Himself. Love Him, love His Church. Hear His Church, hear Him, was what Jesus taught. That is still true today. There is no fundamental opposition between Jesus and His Body. Sure, it’s true that all Christians are sinners. But in the mystery of Christ, His Body is still somehow sinless and completely in union with Him. Our lives are spent living out the mysterious apostolic command to “Become what you are.” Today, become what you are.