Saturday, April 05, 2008

Knowing Him in the Breaking of Bread (Sunday homily)

I want to share three observations:

First: our hope is to share in the resurrection—
or else we have no hope.

King David, as St. Peter said, is dead and buried,
“and his tomb is in our midst to this day.”

Many assume there is life after death,
but how do we know that?

We see those documentaries: someone’s heart stopped,
and they were revived,
and they tell of “seeing a light”…
It gives you goosebumps, but—
really, what does that actually tell us?
It could just be what happens in the brain when the heart stops…

There really is only one who has gone across
and come back and that is Jesus Christ.

And he came back with a true body—he ate and drank—and yet he lives to die no more.
That’s Resurrection and we, too, will, at the end of time, on Judgment Day,
have our bodies raised from the dead and we’ll have them back—new and improved.

Second: when you and I have that resurrection life
to look forward to, that makes utterly meaningless
all the distinctions we think are so important in this life.
Black or white, native-born or immigrant,

how much money is in your bank account,
Speak English or “habla Espanol,”
St. Mary or St. Boniface, Sidney vs. Troy vs. Piqua…

St. Peter reminds us “the Lord judges impartially”:
God is not impressed with all those distinctions
we can’t seem to let go of.

Last, I want to look at what happened in the Gospel:
they knew him in “the Breaking of Bread”—the Eucharist.

The Eucharist, like Resurrection,
changes everything because the Eucharist is the doorway

to Resurrected life—
we have the Resurrection to look forward to,
but through the Eucharist,
Resurrection breaks into this life.

But there’s something else to note about the Eucharist—
it’s not a “me” moment but a “we” moment.

It’s not merely a solitary or personal act of faith,
it’s an act of the whole Body, the Church.

So when we come to the Eucharist—
when we “know him” in the Breaking of Bread,”
that means we know him in something people do together;
and part of it is knowing him in those people—

whoever they are, wherever they come from,
wherever they buy their clothes or lay their head.

The Eucharist demands we are welcoming
and it demands we are ready to be with “them” and “those”
and even “that person over there”

because it’s a new life—forgiven life—resurrection life—
life for Christ and no longer for ourselves—

that we’ve been freely given…
and that’s the new life we are sent to freely share.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for another wonderful reflection. The question I raise in my own reflection on this passage (posted on my blog here: relates to the disciples' failure to first recognize Jesusis: What prevents us from recognizing Jesus...even when he is walking right next to us?

Anonymous said...

Fr. Fox,

In the Magnificat commentary for today's Gospel readings, Rev. Maurice Zundel utilized Pope Gregory's sublime and profound insight into why these two disciples did not recognize Jesus. The saintly pope points out that it isn't so much in our understanding of sacred scriptures that we come to recognize Jesus, but it is when we put into practice the teachings of Jesus that we recognize Him. In today's gospel account it was when these two disciples invited
the "stranger" to stay with them and eat with them, then is when Our Beloved Saviour revealed Himself to them in the breaking of bread. The late beloved Fulton Sheen use to point out that when followers of Jesus recognized Christ in the tabernacle of mens hearts, then and only then would they truly recognize Christ in the tabernacle in the catholic churches throughout the world. Maurice Zundel closes his commentary most insightfully on this Emmaus episode by saying that the measure of our love for others is the measure of Christ revelation to us. I believe this is the true lesson of today's gospel.

Peace to all.

Anonymous said...

Stellar stuff, Father. Thanks!



Anonymous said...

Thankyou Fr!

Fr. Ron Williams said...

Fr. Martin, in light of a previous discussion on Eucharistic Prayers, I was wondering whether you had the chance to see the special Missal of liturgies that was composed for the Pope's upcoming visit to the US. I'm very surprised to discover that the Pope will be using Eucharistic Prayer III and not the Roman Canon.

Here is a link to the Missal.

Fr. Ron Williams said...

OOPS! It didn't print the whole link. Oh well, you can find it at the Vatican website.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Father Williams:

Yes, I was surprised as well. However, when I looked through that whole booklet, I noticed that on all the other occasions, the pope will be using the Roman Canon, and that he will be using some Latin texts on other occasions...

And then I recall that apparently, the music planned for the Washington Mass has a much more contemporary or eclectic style to it, while the music planned for the New York events is more traditional...

So maybe what we're seeing is the influence of the D.C. planners, for whatever reason they wanted the 3rd Eucharistic Prayer, which after all, seems to be the most widely used in this country?

Fr. Ron Williams said...

I thought that the shorter Eucharistic Prayer 2 would be the most prevalent one used, especially since it emphasizes the Eucharist as a meal and doesn't contain the word "sacrifice" in the text of the prayer.