Third Sunday of Easter - Year B
The Breaking Of The Bread
Luke's gospel describes an appearance of the risen Jesus to two disciples who are on their way to Emmaus (EM-mouse). This place is usually identified with the Arab village of Amwas. It is set on a mountain overlooking the Mediterranean. He talks with them, but they do not recognize him. This may be caused by their grief or the spectacular sunset over the Mediterranean.
It is not until he sits down in their home and "breaks bread" that they come to understand who he is. Of course, we immediately see the connection with the Eucharist, but there also may be something more.
There were no utensils at a 1st century Jewish meal, except perhaps a knife. People ate with flat bread similar to today's Syrian or Pita bread. It came in large sheets. The host would tear off a section of the bread and use it to pick up the food. He would then pass the bread to the others at the table. Each would take a section. By the time it reached the last place, there was often little or none left.
Jesus may have had a different way of breaking bread. He did not take his share first, thus making himself last. This set an example of humility for the others. It certainly would have been unusual -- and recognizable.
Luke tells us that Jesus asked his disciples, "Have you anything to eat?" This may seem like a strange request since Jesus' risen body is obviously very different (he can walk through walls). It may simply be that Jesus wants to show them and us that he is not a ghost, dream or hallucination. You can dream that someone is eating food, but when you wake up the food will still be there!
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