John Paul II – Emmaus and the Eucharist

Dr. Gregory S. Neal, UM Elder, presides at the...
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I admit it, I am more Eucharist-centric than more Protestants, much to the chagrin of a few (okay, one) biblio/theo-bloggers, but there are scriptural, traditional and experiential reasons for that (You see what I did there, right?). Anyway, today’s Daily Gospel features a quote from the late Pope John Paul II who will be beatified shortly:

John-Paul II, Pope from 1978 to 2005
Apostolic Letter « Mane nobiscum Domine » §2,11-12 (© copyright Libreria Editrice Vaticana)

“He took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened”

The image of the disciples on the way to Emmaus can serve as a fitting guide for… the Church be particularly engaged in living out the mystery of the Holy Eucharist. Amid our questions and difficulties, and even our bitter disappointments, the divine Wayfarer continues to walk at our side, opening to us the Scriptures and leading us to a deeper understanding of the mysteries of God. When we meet him fully, we will pass from the light of the Word to the light streaming from the «Bread of life» (Jn 6,35), the supreme fulfilment of his promise to «be with us always, to the end of the age» (Mt 28:20)…

The account of the Risen Jesus appearing to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus helps us to focus on a primary aspect of the Eucharistic mystery, one which should always be present in the devotion of the People of God: The Eucharist is a mystery of light!…  Jesus described himself as the «light of the world» (Jn 8:12), and this quality clearly appears at those moments in his life, like the Transfiguration and the Resurrection, in which his divine glory shines forth brightly. Yet in the Eucharist the glory of Christ remains veiled. The Eucharist is pre-eminently a mysterium fidei. Through the mystery of his complete hiddenness, Christ becomes a mystery of light, thanks to which believers are led into the depths of the divine life…

The Eucharist is light above all because at every Mass the liturgy of the Word of God precedes the liturgy of the Eucharist in the unity of the two «tables», the table of the Word and the table of the Bread…  In the account of the disciples on the road to Emmaus, Christ himself intervenes to show, «beginning with Moses and all the prophets», how «all the Scriptures» point to the mystery of his person. His words make the hearts of the disciples «burn» within them, drawing them out of the darkness of sorrow and despair, and awakening in them a desire to remain with him: «Stay with us, Lord.»

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3 Replies to “John Paul II – Emmaus and the Eucharist”

  1. My belief in Communion is more Catholic than Protestant. I still silently pray when I eat the bread ane drink the wine ‘my Lord and my God’ and ‘may the Body /Blood of Christ bring me to everlasting life’. But I can’t grasp what JPII wrote. When Jesus died the curtain in the Temple was torn in two. The veil was no more. We have direct access to Jesus. Yet JPII says there is a veil between Jesus and us in the Eucharist. If the veil is gone, it’s gone, isn,t it?

    1. Yet in the Eucharist the glory of Christ remains veiled.

      He means simply that in the Eucharist, the Glory of Christ is contained, but we don’t know how or why, not that their exists a veil between Christ and the Eucharist.

  2. Dear Gez,

    Is Jesus a God-Man with a real glorified body and a real soul?
    Yes, He is.
    When you see the Eucharist, do you visibly see a Person, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, the Son, as the Apostles saw Him when He was with them?
    No, we see what looks like bread and wine, though it has been transubstantiated into the Body and Blood of Our Lord.
    Therefore, though Christ is contained Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar, His whole true “form” remains veiled behind what we see as bread and wine. Christ’s love for us is so great that He is humble no only to share in our humanity, but to lower Himself even more, so as to contain Himself in the species of bread and wine, that we may receive Him in this world, and momentarily share in the heavenly bliss that we are called to partake in once our earthly pilgrimage is completed.

    + Peace of Christ be with you!

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