In The Breaking of the Bread
A Reflection for the 3rd Sunday of Lent 2011 By Rev. Bob Johnnene OFD
Mission Saints Sergius & Bacchus/ Franciscans of Divine Mercy
“Were not the Scriptures open and our hearts burning within us as He spoke?” “By the breaking of the Bread their eyes were opened to them” These words taken from the Gospel of today should give us pause to think. What would it take for us to recognize Christ today?
Jesus told us He came to bring a new covenant, a clearer meaning of all that had been written before by the prophets. Jesus came into being, sent by Almighty God, to open up the scriptures to all people of all nations, races and genders.
Jesus came to simplify the message of Scripture for everyone.
Jesus came to dispel the idea that God was a vengeful God, but was a God of mercy, forgiveness and Love. Last Sunday we celebrated the feast honoring the Divine Mercy of God but even in light of all that has happened since the disciples met Christ on the road to Emmaus and chatted with him but did not recognize him until he sat with them and broke the bread there are people who do not accept or believe.
Jesus told us that the greatest commandments were “You shall love the Lord, your God, with your whole heart, mind, soul and body and the second is like unto it, Love your neighbor as you love yourself” (Luke 10:27” “Do this and you shall live” (Luke 10:28)
I do not think that Christ’s teaching could be any clearer. Yet, throughout the entire history of the Christian faith, men try to impose all sorts of rules, regulations and conditions onto this basic message often preventing those who desire to know, love and serve God from doing so.
I grant you, that sin interferes with our expression of love for God. So what is sin? Sin is anything that hurts another, sin is anything that defames or injures your body, soul and mind or another person.
In short, sin is doing anything that does not acknowledge your love of your neighbor or yourself.
In order to accomplish this act of love for God and all His children, we need strength to overcome the many temptations that plague us every day.
We get that strength from frequent prayer (conversations with God), participation in partaking of the bread of life given to us by Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. “Take, eat, This is my body” (Matthew 26:26) “As often as you do this you do so in remembrance of me” (1 Corinthians 11:25).
The Eucharist is much more than just a remembrance of Jesus Christ, it is His Body and Blood given to us to assimilate into our body’s giving us the strength to overcome the enticement of Satan.
In the Breaking of the bread, we call to mind the way Christ’s body was broken because of our sins.
In the mixing of the water and wine, we call to mind the blood and water that poured forth from Christ’s side when pierced by the lance.
Every time we receive the Eucharist, we strengthen our ability to repel sin.
Just as the disciples, whose hearts were ablaze with the Scriptures being opened to them when this stranger they met traveling to Emmaus told them “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” it was not until the invited stranger sat with that their eyes were opened and they recognized Jesus, the Risen Christ when “he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
We too can have our hearts and eyes opened to Christ, living in our midst, through the Eucharist and by looking for the qualities that a follower of Christ should be exhibiting; compassion for the poor, aged homeless and unemployed, forgiveness toward those who have wronged them in any way, generosity with the gifts that God has given them and love of all they encounter as they travel life’s road.
We can deepen that recognition of Jesus by daily prayer and scripture reading.
Christ is the one and only head of the church, all the rest of us are mere servants of Christ who are here to shepherd and guide His flock toward the promised reward of everlasting life with God and all the heavenly elect when our days on this earthly plane are over. AMEN