The Breaking of the Bread

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The joy of Easter and the Risen Christ is upon us!  Christ is risen!  Truly He is risen!  

ThomasDo you know that you are a witness for Christ?  When I was growing up in the southern part of the United States, I would from time to time encounter young, protestant teens and adults who would excitedly take to the streets to witness for Christ.  That is how they would refer to their efforts to evangelize. 

Our Lord tells His apostles in today’s gospel (Luke 24:35-48) that they are to be His witnesses.  The scene begins with the return of the two disciples who encountered Christ on the road to Emmaus and came to recognize Him in the breaking of the bread.  Their joy is so great that they had to rush back to share the good news with the apostles. 

Could the apostles dare to believe the incredible?  Jesus knew that at this point in time, His apostles were frightened, confused and discouraged… and that they would need His grace to be effective witnesses.  So He appeared to them in their midst. He invited them to come forward to touch His wounds and asked for something to eat.  Essentially, He was saying to them, “Look, it is me in flesh and blood… believe, be at peace, prepare yourselves to go forth and be witnesses to my Resurrection.” 

The Lord calls us also to be His witnesses.  Not just priests, deacons and religious… but everyone who has come to believe in Him and the Resurrection.  Each of us first came to believe because of the testimony of a witness.  Throughout the history of the Church, from age to age, from one generation to the next, there have always been people with a generosity of spirit that has led them to set aside everything to be witnesses for Christ, not the least of whom for us have been our parents. 

But our belief in the Lord is no longer due to their testimony alone.  For each of us has come to recognize the Lord for ourselves, in the breaking of the bread.  Our Lord has turned the whole world into the road to Emmaus.  At every moment of every day, Holy Mass is celebrated in a Catholic Church somewhere in this world.  And we who participate in this liturgy come to recognize Jesus in the breaking of the bread. 

Let us resolve this Easter season to be like the two disciples on the road to Emmaus who could not contain their joy… let us too, take to the streets to be witnesses for Christ.

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About the Author

Deacon Michael Bickerstaff is the Editor in chief and co-founder of the The Integrated Catholic Life.™ A Catholic Deacon of the Roman Rite for the Archdiocese of Atlanta, Deacon Bickerstaff is assigned to St. Peter Chanel Catholic Church where he is the Director of Adult Education and Evangelization.

He is a co-founder of the successful annual Atlanta Catholic Business Conference; the Chaplain of the Atlanta Chapter of the Woodstock Theological Center’s Business Conference; and Chaplain of the St. Peter Chanel Faith at Work Business Association and co-founder and Chaplain of the Marriages Are Covenants Ministry, both of which serve as models for similar parish-based ministries.

He and his wife have two adult children, one daughter-in-law and three grandchildren.

NB: The views I express on this site are my own. I am not an official spokesman for either my parish or diocese.

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2 Comments

  1. Deacon Mike-this is a great reflection and poignant reminder about the need to share our faith with others. I often find people hesitate to share their witness out of insecurity regarding their knowledge of Catholicism or fear of offending others. True witness requires the humility to be transparent and one of the best ways to share our faith is to simply be open about our own journey. Don’t worry about being perfect! Transparency invites transparency and I have often experienced a rich discussion about faith after I started the conversation with an open sharing about my faith journey. I love your points about joy. We have so much to be thankful for as Catholics and we will never attract anyone to the Church unless we let our “light shine before others” as Christ said in the Gospel of Matthew.

    Thanks for this great post to start my day!

    God bless-

    Randy

  2. Randy,

    That joy is contagious. Even after all these years, I am amazed at the number of times that I encounter people who greatly desire to hear the Gospel and are filled with joy when they do. Even if they already know it, deep down they want to “re-share” it with you. This happens far more often than the opposite. We have to remember that it is simply asked of us to share the good news. The Holy Spirit will take care of the conversion part.

    I have found myself on an airplane and I pull out my breviary, bible or rosary. I cannot tell you many times that has led to a wonderful conversation with the person sitting beside me, oftentimes a non-Catholic or even a non-Christian.

    Deacon Mike

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