Recognizing Christ

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“And they knew him in the breaking of the bread…”

The story of the road to Emmaus is familiar to most of us. We know that two of Jesus’ disciples, walking along that lonely road, were deeply discouraged.  They believed that their Rabbi and Master was dead, gone forever.  Yet Jesus, appearing as a stranger, walked and talked with them enroute. When they all finally sat to rest and eat together, they recognized Him in the blessing and breaking of the bread.

Jesus, glorified, was again present to them.  Unconfined by time and space, He was free to be where He chose and where He was needed.

It is sometimes like this for us as well.  I remember when my daughter-in-law unexpectedly died.  I hadn’t seen her for months and when the phone call came, I was filled with remorse, longing, and anxiety.  The trip to Texas for her funeral was difficult, and the customs surrounding her rites were confusing.  Sarah was a Palestinian Orthodox Christian, and the funeral rites were long and demanding.  I felt disoriented and lost.

I found myself looking for her; some reminder of her living spirit simply had to exist.  But it wasn’t until the funeral meal and the “breaking of the bread” that I was aware of her presence.  When I looked at her children, my grandchildren, I saw her last gifts to me. I saw her in the children’s faces: heard her in their laughter.  When we shared the meal, when we shared our memories, her spiritual presence was both energizing and comforting. These are the ordinary times that we remember those who have gone before us.  They help us carry on through the good and hard times that are a part of everyone’s life.

When we come together on Sunday to share our Eucharistic Meal, we, hopefully, like the disciples, will recognize the Christ who is present in our assembly.  Jesus is here now – and for all time.

Dorothy Hathway, CSJA