“Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of the things that have taken place there in these days?”

The first description of an appearance of Jesus after His resurrection as recorded by Luke takes place on the road to Emmaus (Lk 24:13-35).  Two of Jesus’ disciples are leaving Jerusalem to go to Emmaus when Jesus (unbeknownst to them) comes and walks with them.  They lament Jesus’ death because they thought He would redeem them.  But they mention they received news about the empty tomb.  Jesus admonishes them and reveals to them the scriptures that prophesied the coming of the Christ.  When they arrive at home the disciples urge their new traveling companion to join them.  There Jesus blesses, breaks, and distributes the bread.  Then the disciples recognize Him just before He disappears.  They hasten back to tell the apostles of this encounter but the Eleven are not surprised as Peter himself has already had an encounter with Jesus.  The words at top are the two disciples’ response to Jesus’ query about what they were discussing when He joined up with them.  We can imagine the disciples’ surprise at their new acquaintance’s apparent lack of knowledge of what must have been the biggest event in Jerusalem in years.  Sadly, nearly two thousand years later, we are likely not incredulous in the widespread lack of knowledge of the life and mission of Jesus or of the content of the Bible in general.  Thus the importance of catechesis and evangelization, first and foremost starting with ourselves (one can’t give what one doesn’t have), and then with other Catholics and all Christians.  How can others embrace what they do not know?  Every baptized Christian has received the calling to spread the word about the Word.  Catholics are strengthened in this task in a special way through Confirmation and of course the regular reception of Communion and Confession.  Jesus made Himself known in today’s reading through the breaking of bread.  This is how we get to know Him more intimately as well — in Word and Sacrament at Holy Mass.  Let us be true to our calling to bring the Good News to everyone and to invite them to Mass so that they too will experience their “hearts burning” through a life changing encounter with Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

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