From time to time we human beings get discouraged, and sometimes we even give up. The two disciples on the road to Emmaus were discouraged. With heavy hearts and shattered dreams they were heading home. Their hopes of Israel’s redemption began to fade away in the death of Jesus the Nazarene. Jesus inspired hope in them. His teaching made sense. Israel could be saved. I wonder if their sense of “salvation” meant that Jesus would liberate Israel from Roman hands. We can only surmise this was the source of their despair. If that was the case, I can understand how deep their despair must have been. Life was not easy under Roman occupation. Thus, they were shocked when the stranger asked them, “What sort of things?”
His explanation was preparing them for an experience they would never forget. Drawn into his words, they began to feel an awakening. It was like something was beginning to dawn upon them. When the invited guest took bread into his hands, and said the blessing, their eyes were opened. It was Him—the Risen Lord. What the women told them was true: He is risen!
Their experience of coming to Jesus in the breaking of the bread and our experience of the breaking of the bread is the same. This is the only resurrection story that helps us to understand how we can come to know Him in the breaking of the bread. You are probably asking yourself, “When does the priest break the bread?” Right after the sign of peace and as the Agnus Dei begins, the priest takes the large host, and breaks it into two. Taking a small piece from one of the halves he drops it into the chalice saying, “May this mingling of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ bring eternal life to us who receive it.” As the body of Jesus was broken on the cross, the Body of Jesus is broken upon our altar. In the breaking of the bread the disciples of Emmaus came to know Jesus, and so too we come to know Him in bread that is broken.
“Their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.” When we come forward to receive the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, are the eyes of our heart prevented from recognizing him? It is with these eyes that we recognize him. Our seeing eyes only see bread and wine, but the eyes of our hearts see much more—they see Jesus. The things that are really most important in life are seen with the eyes of the heart.
Sincerely yours in Christ,