Reflection & Dialogue: Christ with us in word and in sacrament
Today’s Gospel reading is probably one of the best-known passages of the Bible. It carries a powerful message to people of every age. Many can identify with the two travellers in their journey, with their faith and hope lost, and the future they believed that was held out for them and their people in ruins, and yet accompanied by an understanding, if unknown friend, who walks with them in their journey to give them a new vision, or rather connect the new reality with the world they formerly know.
Today the individual’s life experience is often referred to as a journey, and indeed rightly so, a journey with regard to one’s self awareness, where one stands, and what is in store for one. Helpers and advisers are encouraged to accompany a person on this journey.
Often reference to such accompanying on the journey is made in the context of counselling, without any faith reference. It may be worth recalling the accompanying presence of Christ in Irish tradition: Christ with me, Christ before me and much more.
Today’s readings invite us to reflect on the presence of Christ in the Mass, in the Scripture readings and in the Eucharist. Christ is really present in both. It is scarcely necessary to recall once again the basic truth, so emphasised by the Church in recent documents, that Christ is present in his word, since it is he himself who speaks when the holy scriptures are read in in the Church. The Scripture readings bring the old and the new together for us – the meaning they had for their first readers or listeners and the application that they can be put to today in our changed circumstances. This contact with the Bible reading is no mere intellectual exercise. In it, when approached in faith, Christ is present through his grace and the Holy Spirit.
And, needless to say, Christ is present in a very special way in the Eucharist, in the breaking of bread, an action that brings to mind the multiple meanings the breaking of bread had for Jesus during his lifetime on earth and after his resurrection.
(For reflections on Sunday and Feastday readings see Martin McNamara, Sunday Readings with Matthew. Interpretations and Reflections, Dublin, Veritas, 2016)