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Posts Tagged ‘#breadofheaven’

I cannot imagine not being able to recognize someone who I love.

Yet, as we read the accounts of people who encountered the risen Jesus, it seems as though they were completely unaware as to who was standing before them.

Open the eyes of my heart, Lord
Open the eyes of my heart
I want to see You

Of course, each of these people, seemingly blinded to the obvious, were also in the depths of despair, sadness, confusion and grief … for the one they so loved had died in such an unfair and violent manner and with him, died their hopes of a Saviour for their people, for themselves, for redemption.

They were mourning and hopeless.

In a sense, their eyes were not yet opened to the fact that, because of the death and resurrection of Jesus :

“you do not grieve like the rest of mankind,
who have no hope”

(1 Thessalonians 4:13)

Because they had not yet seen the resurrected Christ … it was in the seeing … with their eyes and their hearts, that their hope was made real.

I love the story of the two walking along the road to Emmaus with Jesus. It says that the trip from Jerusalem to Emmaus is about seven miles. At some point along the way Jesus himself joins them in their walk. Jesus listens as they tell of the events of the past three days, with great sorrow and hopelessness. Jesus then challenges them, calling them foolish, saying,

“Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” (Luke 24:26).

Then, when they reached the village of Emmaus, they invited Jesus to spend the evening with them.

At the evening meal (how Jesus loved when people gathered around the bread and wine), a miracle occurred :

“When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.” (Luke 24:30-31).

These were not his disciples who had experienced the first communion with Jesus at the last supper. Yet, through the breaking of the bread (his body), their eyes were opened to the truth of who they were dining with … their Savior, the very bread of heaven.

Saint Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century wrote the words to the beautiful hymn, Panis Angelicus … the words, in Latin and English below:

Panis angelicus
Fit panis hominum
Dat panis coelicus
Figuris terminum
O res mirabilis
Manducat dominum
Pauper, pauper
Servus et humilis
May the Bread of Angels
Become bread for mankind;
The Bread of Heaven puts
All foreshadowings to an end;
Oh, thing miraculous!
The body of the Lord will nourish
the poor, the poor,
the servile, and the humble.

It is in the physical element of the bread, the symbol of the body of our Hope, our Redemption, that our eyes can be opened, so that we see with our hearts the truth of who he is … but we have to be willing to take that bread into us, our lives.

this is his body.

broken for you.

take.

eat.


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Listening to a Christmas CD, I have found myself repeating a song I had listened to many times, yet had never really heard.

As Josh Groban’s voice fills my vehicle with the Latin words that shared how the poor and humble servant would be satiated by the gift from heaven, my thoughts drifted to Christmas.

Panis Angelicus,  (bread of angels or bread of heaven) was written by Thomas Aquinas in the twelve hundreds, as part of a communion-themed hymn called Sacris Solemniis.

In English, the lyrics are as follows:

Heavenly bread

That becomes the bread for all mankind;
Bread from the angelic host
That is the end of all imaginings;
Oh, miraculous thing!
This body of God will nourish
Even the poorest,
The most humble of servants.
Even the poorest,
The most humble of servants.
 
Heavenly bread
That becomes the bread for all mankind;
Bread from the angelic host
That is the end of all imaginings;
Oh, miraculous thing!
This body of God will nourish
Even the poorest,
The most humble of servants.
Even the poorest,
The most humble of servants.

Heavenly bread … like the manna, provided to the Israelites, by God himself, in the desert. The Israelites, complaining about the menu, forgetting from the bondage that they left when lead into the desert (perhaps a desert is not so dry and desolate).

Like manna from heaven, God send his Son to Earth. Like the Israelites who wandered in the desert, we too live our lives as if our existence is in a dry and desolate place. We too complain, not because we are starving, but because we want more than just sustenance, we strive to icing on the cake (our cake). We desire more, more, more, of all that does not satisfy.

We have within reach, even in our grasp, the bread of heaven, through the Christ child, yet me look beyond him to what is temporary. It is as though we look straight through him, all the while crying for more.

Perhaps we have too much.

Perhaps we need to be the most humble, the poorest of servants before we can be truly filled with this bread of heaven, this Christmas, and every day.

Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’
Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.”
 And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”
John 6:31-35

 

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