OECTA’s Religious Education in Catholic Schools courses are rooted in the beautiful story, The Road to Emmaus. This story serves as the framework that guides candidates in as they encounter Jesus and through their faith, engage more deeply with Jesus and the Church, and create ways to evangelize using their own gifts and knowledge.
In Part 1, The Road to Emmaus is a pivotal point in the Scriptures for the Disciples. Cleopus walks with another disciple on the evening of Easter Sunday, just after the Resurrection. Jesus joins them, but they do not realize it is him until he breaks bread with them, as he did at the Last Supper. His sharing with them helps the disciples to understand that Jesus would be ever-present with them in this act of breaking the bread, which has evolved into our Catholic Mass, the celebration of the Holy Eucharist.
- Where are you on your journey?
- What does this mean for you today?
- What has been your encounter with ‘Church’ thus far in your life?
The story of The Road to Emmaus is more than simply a story about one of the earliest Resurrection appearances of Jesus after his crucifixion; it is a story about a journey of faith and how we encounter Jesus in our own way. Would we have recognized Jesus if he had encountered us? Do we recognize Jesus in our daily lives now, through our various experiences of faith?
- Where am I on my journey of faith? What does this story mean for me today?
- What has been my encounter with “Church” thus far in my life?
- In what way(s) I see this story as a framework for how we view our community? Our World?
In the context of Part 2, we are dialoguing with Jesus; that is, we are seeking to make sense of His teachings, asking questions and making connections. This stage of the journey will focus on how we are using our understanding of Jesus to make choices that serve the common good and promote human dignity.
We will engage in the history and teaching of our Church so that, together, we can heal, grow, and build the Kingdom of God.
The Road to Emmaus has many meanings; it is incredible how one story can speak to us so uniquely at different stages in our lives. Consider the journey for the disciples for a moment: They had heard and witnessed the Word of God through Jesus. They gave up the life they once knew to bring the teachings of Christ to a new world – a world that was uncertain. Their task was to share the story of the Messiah to non-believers. They would be tested and challenged from the very start.
If you stop to visualize yourself within your educational journey, to the person you were as a younger teacher on the first day of your career to the educator you are today – what images come to mind? What stands out to be the key components or events in your life that you could say have shaped you to be where you are, and who you are, today?
In the context of Part 3, we have “reached” Emmaus; that is, we are now in the final stage of accepting the Risen Jesus as the foundation of our faith. And, like the disciples, we are sent forth to spread the Good News.
What does this mean for us as Catholic teachers and leaders in our communities? How can we evangelize a faith that is inherently counter-cultural and constantly challenged by our secular world?