Life in Brokenness
Introduced by the Emmaus story, today’s gospel contains the central theme of our faith: that the Messiah has to be broken and from the brokenness, He would be the source of healing. The two disciples tell the eleven and their companions how Jesus is made known to them in the breaking of the bread. Two broken-hearted disciples are approached by the risen Christ whom they thought to be a lonely traveler, a stranger. Then, Jesus opens their minds by sharing about Scriptures, by breaking the Word of God. Finally, they recognize Him in the breaking of the bread. Three kinds of brokenness are involved in the process towards to the recognition of the risen Christ in the Emmaus story: broken hearts, broken word and broken bread.
The disciples were broken-hearted after Christ died on the cross. We have to acknowledge our broken-heartedness in order to discover our courage and strength. We have to accept our woundedness in order to be healed. We have to accept the truth of our failures and frustrations in order to face the future with its promise of new life. It is difficult to recognize the risen Christ when we don’t see the brokenness of our humanity. Our failure to identify our own crosses with the Cross of Christ makes us incapable to see them from the perspective of the resurrection. A broken, humble heart is necessary for a true relationship with the risen Christ. Our Christian life is like this journey to Emmaus. Our heartbreaks and difficulties can sometimes make us fail to recognize the risen Lord in the strangers we meet in our earthly pilgrimage.
The disciples on the road to Emmaus describe their experience with the breaking of the word in these terms: “Were not our hearts burning within us… while he was opening the Scripture to us?” This same fire characterizes our encounter with Word of God when our minds and our hearts are truly receptive to His message, when we lift our minds and our hearts to God.
Our Eucharist is rooted in this breaking of bread referred to in the Emmaus story. Our Eucharist becomes Christ’s memorial of His love and presence for His disciples. Our Eucharist is realized through the breaking of our lives for the love and service for others. As grains of wheat and grapes are broken to become bread and wine, we have to be broken for others to accept the saving power of Christ’s resurrection.