Sunday, May 4, 2014

Looking Ahead

Father Perry D. Leiker
By Father Perry D. Leiker

Again we are blessed with an appearance story of Jesus. This one takes place Easter night. Two disciples experience Jesus on the road to Emmaus, without recognizing him while on the journey. Jesus gives them no hint that it is he, except that he dives into the scriptures, especially those that “referred to him."

Later, they would comment: “Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?” But still they did not recognize him.

Having arrived at their destination, they invited Jesus to stay with them, for it was already late. Stay he did, “And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him; but he vanished from their sight.”

The moment was "Eucharistic." The details matched what had happened only days before – before the fateful arrest, condemnation, and brutal killing of Jesus. He broke the bread – and immediate recognition occurred. They discovered him in that breaking of the bread. He had already broken open the word – the scriptures. The Lord was present among them.

This story is our story as church. It is why we gather each Sunday or each day, if we desire. Together, as present day disciples of the Lord, we find ourselves joined in celebration to break open the word and to break the bread. We share this: word, bread, cup, faith and prayer. All of this binds us together in the Lord.

At the deepest level of our spirit, Jesus comes among us and is recognized and shared through these Eucharistic moments. He gave us the perfect activity and ritual.

Eat! Share! Drink! Listen! Open! Welcome! If we stop and think about it, Jesus chose the most intimate communal gathering where love, comfort and peace collide – a meal. We don’t just eat. We eat and share and commune and become more ONE! This is indeed a holy meal. This is the mixing of human and divine. In our remembering, Jesus truly becomes present. Remembering is the way to bring past to present and to experience its power still.

The past is our present when it opens within our spirit remembered truths and power.

Alleluia! He is risen! We, too, have come to know him in the breaking of the bread.

Father Perry D. Leiker is pastor of St. Bernard Church. Reach him at (323) 255-6142, Ext. 112, or email pleiker@stbernard-church.com.

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