We Can Recognize Him in the Breaking of the Bread on Our Own Road to Emmaus
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On this Third Sunday of Easter many parishes experience the joy of children receiving the Eucharistic Lord for the first time in their first communion. My parish has close to one hundred children coming forward to receive the Lord, Body, Blood,Soul and Divinity. The older I get the simpler and more beautiful it all becomes as I watch these young children receive Jesus Christ. It calls me to become as a child, in the words of Jesus, and find the Kingdom of God anew.This encounter on the way to Emmaus opens up in beauty for all who reflect on it prayerfully during this Easter season.We are all walking on that Road. There are so many things which impede our spiritual vision, making it hard to recognize that we are not alone. The Lord accompanies us on the Road of our own life. In the light of the encounter with the Lord in the breaking of the bread, the eyes of those disciples were opened. So it is meant to be with each one of us.
CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - On this Third Sunday of Easter many parishes experience the joy of children receiving the Eucharistic Lord for the first time in their first communion. My parish has close to one hundred children coming forward to receive the Lord, Body, Blood,Soul and Divinity.
The older I get the simpler and more beautiful it all becomes as I watch these young children receive Jesus Christ. It calls me to become as a child, in the words of Jesus, and find the Kingdom of God anew.
It is also my privilege to read the account from the Gospel of St. Luke concerning the encounter the disciples had with the Risen Jesus on the Road to Emmaus. (Luke 24:13-35) The Gospel is a powerful account, packed with oppostunities for reflection.
The Apostle recounts the disciples walking toward Emmaus, forlorn and perplexed over what had occurred to the Lord. Jesus draws near to them on their journey but they do not recognize Him. This is a common theme in many of the post-resurrection appearances recounted in the Scriptures.
The disciples continue their discussion of the events which had occurred during the days before surprised that the stranger beside them seemed unaware of what had occurred. In His empathy and compassion, Jesus enters into their experience and listens.
Then, he gives them the most profound expository sermon (or homily as Catholics call it) of all time. He explains the Scriptures and shows these travelers how they all referred to the Christ. He explains the very events they were recounting to him on the road. However, even after the word was broken open by the Living Word Incarnate, the disciples still did not recognize Jesus.
They invited their fellow traveler to stay with them, "stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over."Out of the depth of the love in His Sacred Heart, He agrees. Then, we read these wonderful words:
"And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?"
So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem where they found gathered together the Eleven and those with them who were saying, "The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!" Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread."
From the earliest centuries Christians have understood this great encounter on the road as referring to the Holy Eucharist, the great Sacrament of Love, wherein Jesus Christ gives Himself completely to us, body, blood, soul and divinity. This is the Sacrament we call "Holy Communion" because it brings us into communion with the Lord and, in Him with one another.
This encounter on the way to Emmaus opens up in beauty for all who reflect on it prayerfully during this Easter season.We are all walking on that Road. There are so many things which impede our spiritual vision, making it hard to recognize that we are not alone. The Lord accompanies us on the Road of our own life.
In the light of the encounter with the Lord in the breaking of the bread, the eyes of those disciples were opened. So it is meant to be with each one of us. The Holy Eucharist is more than a commemoration; it is an invitation into communion with the Living God - right now because Jesus Christ is Risen from the dead and walks with us on our own Road of Life. .
In that encounter, the whole world looks different. That is why, in the Liturgy, the Holy Mass, we move from the Liturgy of the word into the Liturgy of the Eucharist. There we enter into the timeless gift of the Lord, given to us in this Great Sacrament of Sacraments. We, in the words of the Apostle Peter become "partakers of the Divine Nature". (2 Peter 1:4) The Lord comes to take up residence within us.
Among the numerous references to this fact, we find the early Christian apologist St. Justin writing to explain this early Christian teaching to the emperor in the year 155 A.D., "For we do not receive these things as common bread or common drink; but as Jesus Christ our Savior being incarnate by God's word took flesh and blood for our salvation, so also we have been taught that the food consecrated by the word of prayer which comes from him . . . is the flesh and blood of that incarnate Jesus."
We are those disciples on the road to Emmaus, living our lives in the real world, walking along with Jesus who is always there accompanying us on the road, whether we recognize Him or not. He listens to us, and understands us, because he became like us, in "all things but sin" as the author of the letter to the Hebrews tells us.
In Him, the entire human experience has become, in the words of early Church Bishop and Father, Ireneaus of Lyons, "recapitulated". It has been taken up in His Sacred Humanity and made entirely new. In Him, we can now begin to live the Resurrection, even now.
In the Sacred Humanity of Jesus Christ we see who we are called to become as we grow in continual communion with Him. In this encounter with the Risen Lord, which is made present at every Eucharist because it is outside of time, we receive the graces we need to begin to walk the road of our daily lives differently because we have seen the Risen Lord! He walks with us on our own road to Emmaus. We can learn to recognize Him, in the breaking of the bread.
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