April 30, 2014
Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus . . . and talking with each other about all the things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him.
As they came near the village to which they were going . . . they urged him strongly, saying, "Stay with us, because the day is now nearly over." When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight.
It had been a harrowing few days since Jesus' arrest and crucifixion. He had been healing and teaching in ways that opened the scripture with striking new insight and wisdom, calling people into the light of God's love. Their hope had come alive.
But the powers of this world had struck, leaving violence and destruction in their wake. His followers could not see beyond their pain. Fear and death had won - as the authorities had hoped they would. Now Cleopas and his friend were walking home, enshrouded in grief. How could they have been so wrong? Where had God's love been?
When a stranger joined them, they welcomed him, sharing their grief and confusion. He talked profoundly about the scriptures, feeding them with God's love and wisdom. They had been "eating" his words all day but could not digest them. Nor could they recognize him. They could not see what they could not imagine or comprehend. Nevertheless, as they stopped for dinner, they invited him to join them. And when he broke the bread, suddenly their old understanding was cracked open and they saw.
New life begins in the darkness. When we sow seeds in the spring we commit them to the darkness of the soil which is rich and fertile with the power of new life. In it the seed's outer husk will be softened and cracked open so new shoots can come forth and the roots can grow deep. Before the seed can become a plant, it must die in the darkness and be transformed.
Like the seed, we will be made into something we cannot imagine or comprehend. We, too, are born from the darkness. Our souls are broken open and transformed in the darkness so that new life can emerge. This is the sacrament of love and life. This act of breaking open and sharing is the act of life itself.
In the breaking of the bread we, too, are held, broken open, and offered new life.
In the breaking of the bread may we, too, be held, broken open, and offered new life.
Spirited Wednesday: April 30, 2014 , by Mary Louise Howson.