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The Holy Eucharist 

The Breaking of the Bread 

The mysterious moment of the ultimate farewell also comes for the Christian who lives and believes in Christ: "Depart, Christian soul, out of this world," says the ritual prayer for the dying. But the Easter light illumines the last part of one's journey. The Christian descends into the darkness of the tomb as the grain of wheat falls to the ground and rises enriched with new life. "Unless the grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat. But if it dies, it produces much fruit." (John 12:24)
Jesus offered this luminous perspective to the two discouraged disciples who, on that first Easter Sunday, were walking toward Emmaus. 
He spoke to them and, even if they did not recognize him, their hearts were burning inside them as they listened. A new light, full of hope, enlightened their distressed spirits, and a sense of joyous generosity warmed their hearts. Afterwards, in fact, they recalled: "Were not our hearts burning inside us as he talked to us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?" (Luke 24:32)
God had opened a dialogue with mankind. His eternal Word became a human word so that people could understand it. "How sweet to my palate are your words, O Lord, sweeter than honey to my mouth." (Psalm 119)
God's dialogue with his people had continued through the centuries. He taught, exhorted, and scolded his people. But his word was always one of mercy and love, even before human stubbornness, confusion, sins, idolatry. God wanted that his dialogue should be written down so that not only Israel, but all people might listen to it. 
And the Word became flesh and spoke. The Holy Spirit also wrote the word of theSavior and Teacher to teach and form men, to give them comfort and reassurance in their eternal hopes. 
The two disciples felt their hearts filled with tenderness and strengthened by a new ardor when Jesus led them to recall and meditate upon that divine word. 
It was sunset when they arrived near Emmaus, and Jesus acted as if he were going farther. They pleaded, "Stay with us. It is nearly evening -  the day is practically over." (Luke 24:29) 
He stayed and after sitting at table with them, he took bread and broke it. Suddenly a light illumined the two disciples' spirits. They recognized him. 
The breaking of the bread opened their eyes and revealed him to them. Jesus once said: "The bread that I will give is the real heavenly bread," and many of his disciples then broke away and did not remain in his company any longer. "Your ancestors ate manna in the desert, but they died... .the bread that I will give is my flesh, for the life of the world. If anyone eats this bread, he shall have eternal life." (cf Jon 6:49ff)
The two disciples, prepared by the long conversation, understood. He vanished from their sight. Their souls were overflowing with joy; they returned to Jerusalem to tell the eleven that they had seen the Lord and that they had come to know him in the breaking of the bread. 
In apostolic writings and early Christian literature, the "breaking of the bread" signifies the Eucharist. The "breaking of the bread" is the reason the community gathers. It is the Lord's Supper that is celebrated until he comes in glory to bring to fulfillment the Kingdom of God. (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:20-26)
Spes Nostra (page 2 Vol. 3 No. 2, March -April) 1995