Food is such an important part of our lives. We live to eat: at breakfast, lunch, dinner, in between and after. Yes, we live to eat and we love to eat. What we eat speaks volumes as to how we see our health and how we react to stress. However, when I’m stressed and use food as an outlet, a bag of raw vegetables isn’t going to do it. I want a bag of chips (perhaps two bags) or chocolate or peeps.
Food seems to be at the heart of today’s gospel that begins, “They (the two disciples on the road to Emmaus) recognized him(Jesus) in the BREAKING OF THE BREAD.” These two disciples returned to Jerusalem to spread the news of their encounter with Jesus, including their conversation, Jesus speaking about the scriptures and the meal. Only when Jesus said the blessing over the bread, BROKE it....did the two disciples recognize Jesus, after which he immediately vanished.
These same disciples were telling their story of this wonderful encounter when Jesus just happens to appear to these disciples gathered with the apostles, most likely. When they see him, they are filled with fear because they still don’t recognize him!!!!!!
They just don’t get it....
How do you think Jesus felt? Maybe frustrated?? What is his response: show them the wounds of the crucifixion on his risen body (Jesus is truly spirit,soul, and BODY). The Resurrección is VERY physical...visceral...felt very deeply. But to bring home the point even further, Jesus says, “Let’s EAT!” Yes, he has BREAKFAST, the most important meal of the day. I’m not certain it was breakfast but I’m saying that to make a point. Jesus is “breaking the fast,” the fast being their ignorance, by “breaking the bread”, or in this case, the fish!!
We, as Catholics, also recognize Jesus in the “breaking of the bread,” at the MEAL of the Eucharist. Food is at the heart of our Liturgy and at the heart of our faith. We eat and are fed by Jesus so that we go out into the worlds in which we live, as Christ, feeding those people we meet with the rich and nutritious food of compassion, mercy, joy. We go out and feed those who are physically hungry with food, “breaking open” our hearts. We eat the Food of the Eucharist, Christ, ultimately so that our hearts are broken. A broken heart is a heart open to be filled with Grace, which opens the eyes of the heart to recognize Jesus in the brokenness of humanity.