O GOD, whose blessed Son did manifest himself to his disciples in the breaking of bread; Open, we pray thee, the eyes of our faith, that we may behold thee in all thy works; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
And their eyes were opened and they knew him.
Acts x. 34 -- St. Luke xxiv. 13
Today’s epistle begins with Peter’s revelation Concerning Centuio Cornelius of Caesserea, it is the basis of the motto of the order. The good news is that no matter who you are, or where you came from, or what your race, appearance, or heritage, you are welcome if you fear God and do what is right.
The Christian community was and is exclusive. Only those who confessed Jesus as Lord and walked in the way were permitted full participation in the assembly. It gathered in the weekly meetings on the first day of the week, when all the followers of the way of Jesus would gather together in one body to share in fellowship, in the reading and study of the law, prophets, and letters from the apostles, and most importantly, to share in the weekly memorial of his Passion, the thanksgiving meal of his body and blood. In this special way, Jesus was present with the assembly as he was with the disciples at Emmaus. Indeed, early Christianity was often symbolized with the fish. The letters in the Greek word, ichthus, meaning fish, came to stand for the term, Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior, and the paten of the Chapel of Centurions contains the ancient symbol of the Ichthus. It represented the miracles of Jesus and his memorial feast.
The weekly feast of the Lord was conducted with a certain routine according to Justus. The assembly would first come together, and then leaders read the law, prophets, letters of the apostles and the Gospel. Then the minister would exhort the assembly to obey the Word and do good. Following that would be prayers for the whole Church followed by an exchange of the Kiss of Peace between the brotherhood, those who had been initiated. Then followed the offering of bread, wine and food. The one presiding would say a prayer of thanksgiving and memorial, and all would give an Amen at the end. Finally, all of the baptized faithful would receive the bread and wine that had been prayed over. Though their hearing of the Word, the sermons, and the fellowship of the meal, their eyes were also opened to the Lord Jesus, and they knew him in a special way.
Jesus continues to feed his Church today as he did then. He continues to reveal the Good News of salvation through his Gospel read at every Holy Communion, just as he did on the road to Emmaus. And through the exhortations of his ministers, and the power of the Holy Spirit moving amongst the believers, his message is made meaningful to us so that we might follow his command to do right and justly with our fellows. Finally, we know him in that special way promised to us during the Last Supper in the breaking of the bread and feeding on him through the Communion through faith with thanksgiving.
Acts x. 34.
PETER opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:) that word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly; not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.
St. Luke xxiv. 13.
BEHOLD, two of his disciples went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden that they should not know him. And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad? And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to-day is the third day since these things were done. Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; and when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not. Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. But they con-strained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them. And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.
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