In the Breaking of the Bread

"That very day, the first day of the week, two of Jesus' disciples were going to a village even miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus, and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred (Luke 24:13-14).

Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, [Jesus] interpreted to them what referred to him in all the Scriptures (27)... [T]hey urged him, 'Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.'  So he went in to stay with them.  And it happened that while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them.  With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him..." (29-31).

When we meet Jesus on any road we find ourselves in life, we may sense deep within there is something not quite "normal" and usual, something different that captures our senses beyond what we can clearly understand.  As Catholics, life in our "modern" culture is profound because of who we are in Christ.

In our homes, the manner in which we live our life is even more significant.  There our children look to us on the road of life for an interpretation, guidance and to understand the hows and whys of our faith, whether we clearly understand what we are hearing from the Lord in our midst or not.  Dads in particular have unique role.  Dr. Meg Meeker in her book (Strong Father, Strong Daughters) puts the importance of dads in a profound way:
"Think about the kind of dad you want to be.  Sure, it will take hard work.  But love isn't just about feeling good. It's about doing what you don't want to do, over and over again, if it need to be done, for the sake of someone else.  Love  is really about self-sacrifice.  At the beginning of [your daughter's life] she will feel your love. At the end of her life, you will be on her mind.  And what happens in between is up to you.  Lover her extraordinarily.  This is the heart of great fathering" (p. 76).
I have reflected on this particular paragraph often, in large part, because I see the effects in my own life.

During this Easter season, I received a beautiful gift just last night from my seven and four year old daughters, as we prepared to listen to contemplative music and snuggle before they were off to bed. We got ourselves ready, lit small votive candles, got our favorite CD and sat before our very humble alter; then my oldest enthusiastically announced she wanted to practice "giving the gifts" at church.  So we went to the kitchen, got a couple items and she practiced walking down the aisle, giving her gift and bowing. Her sister quickly followed giggling and enjoying the fun.

If that wasn't enough to grip my emotions, my oldest lead my youngest (on their own) to kneel with their rosaries in hand to pray; dim candlelight warmed and embraced them as soft music impressed upon and lifted my soul what was happening before my eyes, their own relationship with Christ was emerging.  Their nearly inaudible prayers was touching to say the least, and a reminder to me of the tenderness of their hearts and their openness to the Good News.

Each day after a long walk on life's road, we have an opportunity to fellowship and break bread with Christ and have our children at the table with us.  As we make the time to read the bible, pray and listen for God, fellowship with the Risen Christ and our children, it is not long before the foolish things of life continue to fade into the backdrop of whatever our culture deems "important", our eyes open and we recognize him clearly with God's grace.  Then, with children at our side, we will say as did the disciples, "Were not our hearts burning?!" within as Jesus becomes more real in all that we are.

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by Fr. Benedict J. Groeschel