By Brenda Kresky
For The Visitor
The fifth Encuentro is a four-year, national process that begins in parishes with five sessions. The themes for these five sessions, rooted in the Emmaus Scripture story, are: 1) Called to a Loving Encounter with Jesus, 2) With Words and Action: Do It! 3) Walking Together with Jesus, 4) Bearing Fruits of New Life and 5) Celebrating the Joy of Being Missionary Disciples. Here is a brief look at the final three themes and questions for your own reflection. (The first two themes were featured in the Feb. 24 edition of The Visitor.)
3) Walking Together with Jesus
“And he said to them, ‘Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and enter into his glory?’ Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the Scriptures. As they approached the village to which they were going, he gave the impression that he was going on farther. But they urged him, ‘Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.’ So he went in to stay with them” (Luke 24:25-29).
The symbols used in this session are the Bible and a wristband. The Word of God gives us life and meaning. Wristbands or bracelets can be a sign of our friendship with Jesus and a symbol of journeying together with Jesus in life. In this passage, Jesus gives the impression of continuing on his journey and lets the disciples decide whether or not to walk away. When have you felt welcomed? Who are you being called to walk with right now in your life? Who are you being called to listen to right now? Is there something or someone who needs to be given the opportunity to make his/her own decision to stay or walk away?
4) Bearing Fruits of New Life
“‘Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.’ So he went in to stay with them. And it happened that, 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, but he vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning [within us] while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?’ So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem” (Luke 24:29-33a).
The symbols used in this session are a candle and bread. When have you extended an invitation to someone you didn’t know well to come and eat at your home? Why did you do that? How did you welcome your guests? Is there someone you are being called to share a meal with? What happens when you share a meal with someone? When are the times you feel the closest to God and Jesus Christ? How have you grown as a result of your friendship with Jesus Christ?
5) Celebrating the Joy of Being Missionary Disciples
“‘Were not our hearts burning [within us] while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?’ So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem where they found gathered together the eleven and those with them who were saying, ‘The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!’ Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread” (Luke 24:32-35).
The symbol used in this session is a cross. The disciples were filled with joy when they recognized Jesus Christ in their midst. This gave them renewed energy to fulfill their mission. Fear, doubt and sadness turn into hope and overflowing love for Jesus. When have you experienced something you were so excited about you just had to tell someone? What are you grateful for right now? What can you do to share the joy that God has brought to your life? What is the biggest celebration in your parish community? What makes it special? What might be things that could be added to that celebration which could include others?