Recognizing Jesus in the Breaking of Bread

Recognizing Jesus in the Breaking of Bread (Luke 24:30-35)

recognizing Jesus in the breaking of the bread

They recognized him more in what he did than what he said.

They blurted out to the disciples  “… what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.”

Perhaps for the first time, I asked myself why did the breaking of the bread open their eyes more than seeing and listening to him along the road.

Strange it is that they would not have recognized him. Stranger still, it is that they should come to know him in this particular way: He broke bread and they knew him. What an astounding source of revelation!  Obviously, his actions spoke louder than his words!

Or maybe it was not so strange after all.

Why they recognized him in the breaking of the bread

How often they had seen him break bread!

  • He brought down the wrath of the religious elite upon himself because of his dietary customs.
  • He ate food with sinners and tax collectors in violation of the sanctimonious taboos of his day.
  • When the multitude had heard him eagerly throughout a long day, he refused to send them away until they had been fed.
  • His followers had seen him take a little boy’s lunch of two fishes and five loaves, bless this food, break it, and then distribute it to a throng of people that numbered in thousands.
  • On the eve of his crucifixion, Jesus had insisted upon eating the Passover meal with his disciples. After supper, in what was to be his last meal with them before his death, he once again broke bread with them saying, “This is my body.” He shared the cup with them and likened the wine to his blood, soon to be shed.
  • He had actually taught his disciples that when they fed another who was hungry, it was as though they were doing it to him.

These were among the flood of memories these disciples brought with them to the table at Emmaus. Maybe it is no wonder they recognized him in action.

This event on a Sunday in Emmaus an isolated event of revelation.

It has been the testimony of the centuries that not only the devout have recognized him anew but that also those of the world have come to know him when bread is broken.

Jesus himself describes the utter surprise the righteous and the end of time who ask: “When did we see you hungry and feed you?” And the king shall respond: “Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these, you did it unto me.”

With his own words, reminded his friends to “Do this (wash one another’s feet) in memory of me.” He still calls us today and judges us when we fail to respond in his name.

Do our actions help people recognize Jesus

As his earliest followers wrote:

If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go and be filled,” without giving them the things they needed for the body, what does it profit? (James 2:15-16)

If any one has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? (1 John 3:17)

Luke told the story in his gospel “of all that Jesus began to do and teach” (Acts 1:1), but a whole separate volume—the book of Acts—was needed to tell how Christ continued to do and teach these same things through his second body—the church.

In saving us, Christ is incorporating us into himself. We become people in Christ. We become his new body—the body of Christ.

The church may preach God’s love with great eloquence, yet there is no eloquence so persuasive as that expressed when God’s people as Christ’s body feed the hungry in this world. They are the ones with whose needs Christ fully identifies himself.

All this should make great sense to Vincentians. Vincent taught us to do and then teach. He taught us to nourish the forgotten one BOTH spiritually and physically.

“Do this in memory of me!” – Vincentian action today

  • Do people recognize us by our actions in breaking bread with them?
  • How well do we nourish those who are physically hungry today?
  • How well do we nourish those who are spiritually hungry today?

This reflection draws heavily from a reflection by Clyde Tilley

Suggested focus word  – recognizing Jesus

Suggested excerpt – Perhaps for the first time, I asked myself why did the breaking of the bread open their eyes more than seeing and listening to him along the road.

Achievement to Implementation

Achievement to Implementation

Fr. Tom Mckenna, in his biweekly reflection on famvin.org, reflects on situations we have all experienced… feeling a pull to take the next step yet feeling helpless to actually take that step.

Certain stories might well be styled “echoing” because they reverberate with the inner story a person tells about herself. Gospel stories have a way of setting off this kind of echo, striking chords people recognize inside their own experience. “Oh yes, I’ve been there.”

An incident in John’s 20th chapter sounds such a note in many believers. And that is the pull to move forward but not being able to do so, the feel of an inner prod to take a further step and yet feeling helpless make it.

This is the predicament of the post Resurrection disciples who are locked behind doors for fear of what the authorities might do. Other believers have arrived with testimony that Jesus is alive, not just come back but radiant with a new kind of life. They recognize also that his teachings and actions have come out of the tomb with him and are indeed the truth and the life.  Hearing this, the disciples in the room still can’t unlock their locks and move out, can’t take that next step.

That’s their predicament when suddenly Jesus comes through the barred doors.  He wishes them peace, shows them his wounds, and then does the crucial thing – he breathes on them. This breath is his (God’s) own Spirit, the breath that blew over the waters of creation, that dried up the Red Sea, that brought vitality back to the dry bones on the desert floor. This is the new and overflowing life that streamed out from his side and that is now flooding into this room. It enables the disciples to move from what they know they ought to do to what they now can do — be sent out proclaiming that their Lord is alive and his Way is everlasting life.

You might say this is a story about people being strengthened to cross the gap between the achievement and its implementation.  Christ has died, Christ is risen: that’s the achievement. But living as if that Christ is alive and active in our world: this is the implementation, the enablement of what has already happened.

This is a story that echoes inside our own. It’s the initial plot line of recognizing the pull to step more out onto Jesus’ Way, but hesitating to venture beyond those locked doors. But there’s the second thread in the story, the one where a person felt the breath of Jesus’ Spirit blowing through a wavering heart and then moved forward. It’s that remembrance of crossing the gap between what I knew I should do and then doing it.

If you can bring up the memory of such a movement in yourself, you’re back in that fear-filled room on the first day of the week — but no longer imprisoned by your fear. You stepped out because you let the Lord breathe his Spirit into you and so carry you across that wide chasm between realization and follow-up, between the achievement already accomplished and the implementation needing to be done.

If there is a patron saint of implementation, it is our own St. Vincent. Always suspicious of pure ideas untethered to concrete effects, he looks to the world of action to validate the ideas and follow through on their possibilities. He not only experiences the breath of the Spirit blowing through but also moves with that inspiration to put flesh on the “achievement” of Risen Life. His story echoes what happened in that room, the story of people who have heard and then been empowered to bring the Good News to the world. Might this be our story too?

Doing some housecleaning

I am doing some house cleaning … but first it involves creating and taking inventory.

This project has been necessitated by the fact that it was not the best practice to link to what I have published on other sites. Recently cmeast has been revised and migrated to another platform. All the links went to a hidden sector of the great cloud in sky.

However, with the help of Beth Nicol who has been the tech support person for literally 20 years, I was able to get a copy of everything I posted on that site. Since I was virtually the lone poster that meant literally thousands of post.

The bad news is that it means everything. That includes lots of material that I now would describe as news that is no longer news. In the coming week and months, I hope to weed out such material and possibly reinsert graphics that would mee with today’s standards.

Since I continue to write for a variety of sites this will not be a priority.

But as the About page indicated this site will try to accommodate those who repeatedly asked for some kind of an ardchive.