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For Your Weekend: The Necessity of Our Brokenness

Laura Phelps

Dig Deeper into Sunday’s Gospel: Read Luke 24:3548

When life's storms hit and peace (along with my sanity) flies out the window, it’s hard for me to see straight. The brokenness feels like too much. Paralyzed by fear, I tend to sit in the shards of a broken dream, hope, or life that appears to require nothing short of a miracle to piece back together.

Can you relate?

Oh, how easy it is to forget that the breakdown always comes just before the breakthrough.

How quickly we give in to fear, forgetting the necessity of our brokenness. The truth is that the way to peace is the broken road; the answer is always Jesus, and Jesus is found in the breaking.

“He was known to them in the breaking of the bread” (Luke 24:35).

This is the first line in Sunday’s gospel: The story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus. Distraught by the crucifixion, the two friends talk on their way to Jerusalem, trying to make sense of everything that had occurred. As they journey, Jesus—unrecognized by this sad pair of friends—draws near, attentively listens to their troubled hearts, and responds by breaking open the Scriptures (Luke 24:27). Hearts burning within, the friends beg Him to stay. Jesus agrees to remain with them, and oh my word, what happens next!

While he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him. (Luke 24:30–31)

These two friends were not present at the Last Supper. They were unaware of the sacramental nature of breaking bread, which we are familiar with. Yet, the breaking not only opened their eyes but also broke open their hearts, propelling them to share with their friends that Jesus was still with them! And did you notice that no sooner did they recognize Him than something peculiar happened? Despite His promise to stay, Jesus vanished.

Can you think of a time you needed Jesus to be with you, and He vanished?

When we are broken, the enemy loves to whisper, “You are alone.” When we cry to the Lord, “Stay with me!” and our circumstances don’t change, we can be tempted to believe the enemy’s lie. When we agree with the devil, we forget a most important truth of our faith: Jesus is everywhere, always—we are never alone. When Jesus breaks the bread, He doesn’t vanish to leave us alone—He vanishes to be with us always. How?

He becomes the bread.

In the most holy sacrament of the altar, Jesus gives us the gift of Himself. In times of trouble, He is not far from us; we must remember this and run to Him, but, All too often,writes Lisa Brenninkmeyer, “we are overwhelmed by our problems and underwhelmed by our humble Savior…He is the answer to all our deepest longings and the fulfillment of our greatest needs.”[1]

Jesus in the Eucharist is the answer to our brokenness. Jesus, hidden in the bread, broken for us, is the peace we desire. Yet, for many, the truth, beauty, and power of Jesus as the living bread are difficult to believe. It’s no secret that today’s crisis of the Church is faith in the Eucharist. Instead of searching for peace by spending time with the living bread, we seek to find rest and refreshment in a Pilates class, sleeping in, or brunch with friends—pleasurable, tangible experiences. Adoring Jesus would be much easier if He came with a mimosa and proof that He was really here. We want to see Him. Handle Him. Eat with Him. And here’s the thing: We can. 

And Jesus, on the road to Emmaus, shows us how.

“The only reason these disciples were able to see Jesus in the breaking of bread,” says theologian Dr. Brant Pitre, “is because He already prepared their hearts by teaching them through the Word; by unpacking, opening Scriptures.”[2]

The first Bible study that ever existed was that conversation on the road to Emmaus when Jesus broke open the Scriptures. What a deal—they got Jesus as their small group leader! This was no accident but rather deliberate. Not only will reading Scripture give us a picture of who God is, His traits, and characteristics, but it is one of two fundamental parts of the Mass: the Liturgy of the Word, which precedes the Liturgy of the Eucharist. If we want eyes to see our Lord and Savior, hidden and broken in bread, we must first receive Him in His Word.

But the story doesn’t end here.

Once Jesus was recognized in the breaking of the bread, the two friends went on mission. They immediately returned to Jerusalem to share their encounter with Jesus and how He set their hearts on fire. This, my friend, is our mission, too. Even when, especially when, we are broken. 


Because all life has brokenness. The question is not will we experience it, but rather, will we sit in it or live out of it? Just as Jesus gives Himself away, He asks that we do the same. He asks that we become bread for others, food for the lost and hungry souls who have yet to encounter Jesus Christ's love: to break open the Scriptures, receive Him in the breaking of the bread, and share Him with this broken world.

With you on the broken road,

Food for thought or journaling…
How can you become bread to a soul that hungers for God?

Jesus, You were broken for me. Thank You for keeping Your promise and staying with me always. Help me to hand over my brokenness by becoming bread for another. Amen.

[1] Lisa Brenninkmeyer, Opening Your Heart: The Starting Point (Walking with Purpose, 2010–2019), 143.
[2] Dr. Brant Pitre, “The Road to Emmaus and the Mass,” Catholic Productions (4 April 2024): https://youtu.be/Zh1DWQdC39A?si=8VTtCM_BFXwxJasT.

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