The expression caught my attention. For me, it describes those who know what they want… and are doing something about it.

What does it mean to you?

As I reflected on World Mission Sunday, I discovered Pope Frances used the phrase when he spoke of mission in the context of the disciples on the Emmaus Road (cf. Luke24:13-35). He writes of their missionary journey on the road BACK from Emmaus to Jerusalem

The road back from Emmaus

They had unknowingly encountered Jesus as they walked away from Jerusalam after Christ’s death and burial.

Pope Francis writes

Those two disciples were confused and dismayed, but their encounter with Christ in the word and in the breaking of the bread sparked in them the enthusiastic desire to set out again towards Jerusalem and proclaim that the Lord had truly risen.

They knew what they wanted … to tell others of the Good News.

Their encounter with Jesus in the stranger

He sees three images that can renew our missionary zeal.

  • their hearts burned within them as they heard the Scriptures explained by Jesus,
  • their eyes were opened as they recognized him and, ultimately,
  • their feet set out on the way.

In these three images, he sees the journey of all missionary disciples who understand what they have experienced and run to tell others.

 As when he first called the disciples, so now, amid their bewilderment, the Lord takes the initiative; he approaches them and walks alongside them.

In his great mercy, he never tires of being with us, despite all our failings, doubts, weaknesses, and the dismay and pessimism that make us become “foolish and slow of heart” (v. 25), men and women of little faith.

The disciples were transformed into missionaries

“Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?” (v. 32). Jesus is himself the living Word, who alone can make our hearts burn within us, as he enlightens and transforms them.

He continues…

Here we can recognize an essential reality of our faith: Christ, who breaks the bread, now becomes the bread broken, shared with the disciples and consumed by them…..The risen Christ, then, is both the one who breaks the bread and, at the same time, the bread itself, broken for us.

It follows that every missionary disciple is called to become, like Jesus and in him, through the working of the Holy Spirit, one who breaks the bread and one who is broken bread for the world.

We should remember that breaking our material bread with the hungry in the name of Christ is already a work of Christian mission.

How much more so is the breaking of the Eucharistic bread, which is Christ himself, a work of mission par excellence, since the Eucharist is the source and summit of the life and mission of the Church.

Pope Francis reminds us that Pope Benedict XVI pointed out

 “We cannot keep to ourselves the love we celebrate in the Sacrament [of the Eucharist]. By its very nature, it asks to be communicated to everyone.

What the world needs is the love of God, to encounter Christ and believe in him. For this reason the Eucharist is not only the source and summit of the life of the Church; it is also the source and summit of her mission: ‘An authentically Eucharistic Church is a missionary Church’” (Sacramentum Caritatis, 84).

Pope Francis asks us to walk back on the Emmaus Road

Pope Francis sees the current synodal process as setting out on the way, listening to the Spirit speaking through the pains and joys of our sisters and brothers in their journey and recognizing that we do this in memory of him.

So let us set out once more, illumined by our encounter with the risen Lord and prompted by his Spirit.

Let us set out again with burning hearts, with our eyes open and our feet in motion… to invite everyone to walk together on the path of peace and salvation that God, in Christ, has bestowed upon all humanity.

Recognizing how Jesus walks with us today

  • Do I take time to become aware of God’s loving glance? (Personal Prayer)
  • Can being with others who are aware of God’s loving glance deepen my own awareness of the mission to tell others? (Celebrating Liturgy)