Sunday, May 15, 2011

In the Breaking of the Bread

Homily from the 3rd Sunday in Easter - Year A

First of all, let me say congratulations to our First Holy Communicants gathered here today.  It is a tremendous joy to have you join us at the altar for the very first time to share in the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist.  I congratulate all of you and your parents, teachers, family and friends who have given so much time and prayer to help you prepare for this blessed day. Welcome!

If you lost something; for example, if you lost your favorite book, if your favorite book suddenly disappeared, and mom and dad were there, what do you think you might say? What question might you ask mom and dad?  You’d probably ask them, “Where did my book go?”

In today’s Gospel, two of Jesus’ disciples are walking along the road to Emmaus.  And they are very sad because they’ve lost something.  They lost Jesus.

Just 3 days earlier, Jesus was crucified, hung upon the cross, died and was buried.  And so the disciples think Jesus was gone forever.  They are so sad at the loss of Jesus that they do not recognize him when he appears to them on the road to Emmaus on Easter Sunday.

However, Jesus slowly begins to reveal Himself to the disciples.

The first way Jesus reveals Himself to the disciples is by telling them about how the Sacred Scriptures talk about Jesus.  In the Gospel today, Jesus interprets the sayings of Moses and the prophets, showing the two disciples that Moses and the prophets were speaking about Jesus.  Jesus shares the Word of God with the disciples.

Have you ever noticed how the Mass, what we are celebrating right now is divided into two halves?Right now, we just finished the first half?  What was the main thing we did in the second half of the Mass?   That’s right we listened to the Word of God.

Like the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, we listened to the Word of God. We hear about God’s plan for our lives. And we hear about Jesus too.  Jesus reveals Himself to us at every Mass through the Liturgy of the Word.

In a few moments, we will begin the second half of the Mass?  What is the main thing we get ready for and do in the second half of the Mass?  That’s right, we get ready for Holy Communion.

That’s what Jesus does for the two disciples too.  In the Gospel, the sun is starting to go down, it’s close to dinner time, so the disciples ask Jesus to stay and eat with them.  And Jesus does some amazing things during the dinner.  The Gospel says, “while He was with them at table, He took bread, said the blessing, broke it and gave it to them.”

When was another time we heard about Jesus taking bread, saying the blessing, breaking the bread and giving it to people?”  The Last Supper with the Apostles on Holy Thursday.  The multiplication of the loaves and fishes.  And at this Mass!

In the second half of the Mass, Jesus will reveal Himself to us in the breaking of the bread, just like he did for the two disciples in the Gospel.  In just a few moments, Jesus will take bread, say the blessing, break the bread, and give it to all of you for the first time.  He does this through the priest.

Now, in the Gospel today, when Jesus took the bread, said the blessing, broke the bread and gave it to the disciples, something really amazing happened to Jesus.

Do you remember what happened to Jesus?  That’s right, he disappeared.  Doesn’t that sound strange?Why do you think Jesus would disappear like that?

How about this: maybe Jesus disappeared because He was still there in the bread!  The host you are about to receive isn’t bread – it’s the Body of Christ.  And what you are about to drink from the chalice isn’t wine – it’s the Blood of Christ.

When Jesus disappeared from the disciple’s sight, they don’t say, “Where did He go?”  They say (in a manner) of speaking, “Wow! That was awesome!” They say, “Were not our hearts burning within us when while he spoke to us… and opened the Scriptures to us?”

The disciples are no longer sad. Instead, they are the happiest they’ve ever been in their life.  Because they realize they didn’t lose Jesus.  Jesus remains with them in the Eucharist.  Jesus remains with them in the breaking of the bread.  And it wasn’t until Jesus broke the bread that they finally saw Jesus and recognized Him.  When Jesus breaks the bread, they see Jesus, they recognize Him, they know Him better than they’ve ever known Him before.  And in just a few moments, you will know Jesus better than you’ve ever known Him before.

The person you want to know better than anyone else in your life is Jesus.  And you will get to know Jesus the best through the Eucharist.  Like the disciples, you will come to know Jesus through the breaking of the bread.  Get to know Jesus more and more every single Sunday of your lives!

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