Know Him in the Breaking of The Bread
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Reaching out to the stranger, the inclusion of the stranger in this godly household, the act of pulling up one more chair to the collective table, was essential. At this table there is always room for one more. The universe is extravagant in the goodness bestowed upon us and out of that abundance comes the grace with which we share with others.
The point of being such a household—of being the church—is to invite everybody to the banquet. This is a feast and everybody is invited. And everybody sometimes meant random guests being invited from the highways and byways, thrown together in a generous act of hospitality. People of different social status rubbed elbows at such a table.
In the Breaking of Bread | Advent Hope
Jesus shared a table fellowship with his followers, students, and friends. And the stories that circulated among his friends were fantastic tales of fish and loaves multiplying, of water turning into wine. In his presence, these stories tell us, nobody goes hungry. Anthropologists speak of commensality—a fancy word for sharing a table—and the insights into culture when observing who is invited to eat, who sits where at the table, who is served first. Open commensality is the practice of there being no restrictions or taboos at the meal table.
The bodies we all share unite us in their need for nourishment and we are all given what we need. When Jesus went up to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover, he knew that he was going to get in trouble. He might have even known he was going to die.
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For at the last meal he ate with his friends, he told them that every time they came together in his name, sharing food, sharing bread and cup, they would be living out the beloved community. Do this and remember me, Jesus says. Daily acts of eating and drinking, do it for the remembrance of me.
You know, the Greek word in the New Testament that is translated as remembrance also means reenactment. For the earliest followers of Jesus, the reenactment of his mission of shared abundance was the way they experienced his ongoing presence among them—the worshipping, Eucharistic community, those gathered around the freely-given, justice-creating meals of Christian worship.
The mid-morning sun is heating up the stone walkways of this Mediterranean port city. The sky is a dazzling cobalt, a blue that offsets the whitewashed houses and sandstone walls. It is the first century, and you are arriving in a seaside city along the coast of the Mediterranean in what is now Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Greece, Italy. You are a stranger here.
You know nobody here and nobody knows you. Perhaps you are a migrant labourer, one of a growing number of destitute peasants looking for work. Perhaps you are a recently freed slave. A few things are certain. You have no money, you have no family, you live in the rough world of sailors, fishers, traders making up the underbelly of the Roman Empire.
The Road to Emmaus – Their Eyes were Opened in the Breaking of the Bread
And you are a Christian. You are a member of a secretive mystery cult based in the life and teachings of a Jew from Galilee, a spirit-filled miracle-worker and sage. He was executed by the Romans as a political criminal, but his earliest followers say that he lives on within and among his followers, wherever two or more are gathered in his name. And his name is Iesous, Iesous Christos. Jesus the Christ.
Most of his followers that you know are not Jews, but Greeks, like you, and like you from the lower classes of the Empire. There are networks of Christos followers, Christians, throughout the towns and villages of this region. As a newly established sect, your Greek neighbours and the Roman authorities alike are suspicious of this upstart religion. In another generation, Christians will be actively persecuted.
Indeed, there are already stories circulating among the believers of court cases and accusations. The secrets of your religion must be kept. You seek and find each other out, meeting before dawn on the first day of the week, before going to work. You meet to sing, mostly, sing and pray. And then share a meal together. A meal of fish and bread and wine. And then, at the close of worship, food from this feast is distributed. You heard that they would feed you, and so you sought out this new mystery cult.
Because you were hungry, physically hungry and desperate to sustain yourself. Christ has ascended to heaven, but in the breaking of the bread he is present with us in a unique way that transcends his omnipresence. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy.
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So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. The disciples run back to Jerusalem to help the downcast. The joy of encountering the Risen Christ can only be translated into love, compassion, and zeal to heal others, and to proclaim from the rooftops, he is risen he is risen indeed.
Ah yes, brothers and sisters, but where did the Lord wish to be recognized? In the breaking of bread. Have faith, and the one you cannot see is with you. Sermon The risen Lord is with us always, and he brings us to himself especially in the eating of his Body and his Blood. As he said,. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. John There, the gives himself to us fully, and takes us fully to himself, body and soul.
There, our sins are forgiven, our wounds are healed, our eyes are opened, our souls are strengthened, and the promise is renewed.
There, death and life come together, because the broken Body is the risen Body which gives us life. At the table of the Lord the kingdom comes to us and we are taken up to it, until that day, when we will see him in all of his glory. This was extremely edifying and calming to read. The story of the road to Emmaus is so beautiful and so touching, it always goes straight to the heart.
Coincidentally I just found your post at the same time I am reading on the topic of celestial corporeality for the first time in Wolfgang Smith, the Thomist I mentioned before.
I am part of a little book group, and we are reading him now, I am really not trying to understand Orthodoxy through Thomism. Alan, glad to hear this was helpful, and most importantly, may God bless you in your journey! Would you do me a favor and delete the second paragraph of my comment above? It is too personal for right now. You are commenting using your WordPress.
You are commenting using your Google account. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email. Notify me of new posts via email. Search Home About. Bookmark the permalink. The bright Sunday morning could only come after the darkness of Friday and Saturday. All of the Old Testament is All About Christ And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets the only Scriptures they had , he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
Luke Now, the kingdom of God has come. Jesus takes the bread, blesses it, gives it to them, And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight.
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The opening of the Scriptures was necessary, but it was not sufficient. St Augustine in one of his sermons had this to say about this passage: Ah yes, brothers and sisters, but where did the Lord wish to be recognized? John There, the gives himself to us fully, and takes us fully to himself, body and soul. Share this: Twitter Facebook. Like this: Like Loading September 3, at am. Marcelo P. Souza says:.