Blessed, Broken, and Shared
”Out of the darkness of my life, so much frustrated, I put before you the one great thing to love on earth: the Blessed Sacrament. There you will find romance, glory, honor, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves upon earth.“ ~ J.R.R. Tolkien
In today’s Gospel (Luke 24:13-35) Jesus joins two disciples on the road to Emmaus but they do not recognize him at first. As you may recall, this Gospel Passage was proclaimed three days after Easter Sunday on the Wednesday within the Octave of Easter. As the story unfolds and these two men come to recognize Jesus it parallels how we the faithful encounter Him through the Sacrament of Holy Communion, wherein Jesus shares his body, blood, soul and divinity so that we can be fortified for our journey home to the Heavenly Kingdom. With each Eucharistic encounter, Jesus infuses the recipient with indescribable graces; we essentially begin to ever-so-slowly take on his ways, becoming more like him; as the old expression goes, “you are what you eat.” In chronicling this encounter, Luke essentially tells the story of the second celebration of the Eucharist, second only to that fateful evening that we celebrate as Holy Thursday https://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/When-Coming-In-Second-Matters.
But there’s something else going on here. As Bishop Barron points out in his daily reflection this morning, “in the course of their conversation he (Jesus) opens the Scriptures to them, disclosing the great biblical patterns that make sense of the ‘things’ that they have witnessed. The interpretive key is none other than his own suffering and death, his willingness to go to the limits of godforsakenness in order to save those who had wandered from the divine love.“
To Bishop Barron’s point, a transformation slowly begins to unfold within them. We’re told in the beginning of this passage that “their eyes were prevented from recognizing him,” but as Jesus begins to unwind the story, His story, slowly they come to realize whose presence they are in. Jesus then sits down with them, takes bread, says the blessing, breaks it, and gives it to them ~ and in that precise moment they recognize him. Their hearts, we’re told, were “burning within them.”
Jesus unquestionably reveals himself through Scripture, but as Cleopas attested to in the waning words of this passage, it was the “breaking of the bread“ that served as the penultimate moment in their encounter with the risen Savior. And so it goes for us. Jesus is, as Bishop Barron concludes, the “embodiment of the Paschal Mystery.” He loved the world unto death, a journey he took in order to save the most desolate and seemingly hopeless of sinners.
Tomorrow’s Gospel (John 6:22-29) continues to delve even deeper into the mystery and power of the Eucharist, wherein Jesus speaks of the heavenly bread, that which satisfies the deepest longing of the heart, and does so by adapting the one who eats it to eternal life. The Eucharist, the source and summit of the Christian life, is in fact the food and drink that alone satisfies.
The will of God is the salvation of all humanity through His Son Jesus Christ. To hunger and thirst for righteousness is to hunger and thirst for the Bread of Life, blessed, broken and shared with us at the celebration of this Sacrament and the Holy Mass. Our hunger for eternal life can only be satisfied by Jesus through the breaking of the bread.
For more on this Gospel Passage, please revisit one of my previous reflections: