"The action of breaking the bread, which in apostolic times prompted the very name then used for the Mass, has an important significance; it means that all are united in mutual love through the one bread, since this one bread is shared among many” (General Instruction on the Roman Missal).

One of the first signs that Jesus gave after His Resurrection was at the inn on the road to Emmaus when, having “broken the Word of God” and explored its meaning, He then breaks bread and, in that gesture, their eyes were opened. They remembered the Breaking of Bread on that fateful Thursday night - and realised that the hands that had broken that bread - the hands that had been nailed to a cross - those same hands were now alive and breaking bread again before them.

As the Bread is broken at Mass, the Agnus Dei - the Lamb of God is said or sung. The General Instruction suggests that this invocation - (calling upon the Lamb of God to take away our sins) should continue long enough to cover the whole breaking of the Bread - to remind us that it was the breaking of the physical Body of Christ - the sacrifice of His life for ours - that did in fact lead to the forgiveness of sin.

When the Breaking is complete, our prayer changes to a plea that the Lamb of God should bring us peace...

Ideally, we should share the one Bread that has been broken - but that is not always practical. The Instruction accepts this - but suggests that parts of the Broken Bread should be distributed among as many of the faithful as possible and that the small hosts should have been consecrated at the same Mass to emphasise the participation of all present. 


Take Time Out

Think about the words of the Lamb of God - what does the title “Lamb of God” mean to you? How can you deepen their meaning for you? 

Read the story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus - Luke 24: 13-35. Can you see the structure of the Mass in the story?

Bring the results of your reflections to the Breaking of Bread and saying/ singing of the Lamb of God next week.

 © Wellspring 2005

| The Mass: Contents | Liturgy of the Eucharist (Rite of Communion) | Wellspring Core page |