by Sr. Patricia Marie Landin, SSMO
I am the Bread of Life,
he who comes to me will never be hungry,
and he who believes in me will never thirst.
These simple yet profound words of Jesus, are echoed over and over in the Gospel of John, as he continually wants to draw us daily into a closer and closer relationship with himself and an ever deeper walk in faith by partaking of his Body and Blood in the Eucharist.
Each time we go to the Celebrate the Eucharist we begin by preparing ourselves by asking for the Lord’s tender mercy, followed by the readings along with reflections, then stating our profession of faith, the Eucharistic Prayer, and the culmination of receiving Jesus in Holy Communion, then we are sent to share the light of faith; the Good News of the Gospel.
Still I wonder, do I know what I am participating in? Do those at the table with me know what they are a part of and what we have been invited too? Most importantly, how do I come to the table of the Breaking of the Bread?
On our daily journey in life we walk with feet of clay, perhaps struggling with many issues of sadness, of loss, of illness and other circumstances that are beyond our control. Which may find our own faith somewhat shaken and shallow.
There is another journey of faith illustrated in Scripture on Easter Evening that may help us. It is the story of the two disciples who traveled from Jerusalem back to their village of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem. As they walked along, with down trodden and sad faces, they discussed all that had happened in the city over the past few days, as they had thought Jesus was the one who would set Israel free, their Savior was gone. Then Jesus came along the road ever so gently and suddenly, and began to walk with them. They lifted up their eyes no longer looking at the ground and downtrodden, but at the stranger who had joined them. The stranger listened to their sad hearts and joined in the conversation. He began to explain the scriptures beginning with Moses and all the prophets explaining the passages that were about himself. As they neared the village, the stranger appeared to be going on further, but the two disciples begged him to stay with them. He went in and they all sat at the table, then taking bread into his hands, broke it. Upon seeing this, the eyes of the disciples were opened, and they recognized Jesus! He then vanished from their sight. But Jesus left them with a burning longing in their hearts, and a burning zeal to go back to Jerusalem and share the good news that they had seen The Risen Lord!
This familiar story of the two disciples on the Journey to Emmaus is our story too. In our own lives there are times we are downtrodden, our hope is lost, our faith trembles, it is then we reach out with weak faith asking to become strong again with the Bread of Life; to have Jesus walk alongside us again.
The life of faith is never one in which we can stand still, we are called even more today to walk the Emmaus road to –re-kindle our first love. As we walk from our Church bench toward the altar, can we ponder being on the road to Emmaus, to have our eyes-opened again in the breaking of the bread, and to receive Jesus, who is the desire of our Soul. As we walk back to our bench, and center on the presence of Jesus within us may our hope and faith deepen and our love be re-kindled in our hearts with Easter Joy.