The theme for Catechetical Sunday 2019, “Stay With Us,” is drawn from a verse in the beautiful account of the walk to Emmaus found in Luke’s Gospel (Luke 24:13-35). As I prayed over this passage, a line I had never noticed before spoke to me. Luke tells us that the two disciples “strongly urged him” to “stay with us.” Why strongly? After all, they still did not know it was ­Jesus; perhaps simply because it was nightfall and the road would be dangerous for one traveling alone. Or, did they simply need more of his companionship??After all, they were still deeply saddened by the crucifixion, and now they were thoroughly confused about the message of Jesus being alive that the angels had declared to the women at the empty tomb.  
But, was it something more? Were they intrigued by this stranger? Did his explanation of the Scriptures comfort, inspire and challenge them? Perhaps they just wanted to hear more. They were hungry travelers in body and soul. 

Jesus feigns as if he is going further — though the Greek of the text suggests that he really wanted to be invited into their home. Once the three sat down to share the evening meal, all their hungers were suddenly satisfied. In the breaking of the bread they experienced the real presence of Jesus. Everything made sense now! Their hearts were burning to share the good news: Jesus is alive! Despite that dark and dangerous road, they set out immediately to tell the community in Jerusalem that they had indeed met the Risen Jesus! 

This is exactly what we do in our catechetical ministries with children,?youth?and adults in our parishes. We feed those who are hungry — even those who may not know for what (or better, for Whom) they hunger. We walk with them, talk with them and get to know them better. Gradually and gently, we tell them about our own journey with ­Jesus. We break open God’s Word as it is believed, celebrated and lived in our Catholic community. We lead them to those moments where they, too, can experience the Living Lord, especially in the sacraments — and most especially in the Eucharist.

Yet, there is more to our catechetical ministries. We also model what it means to share this Jesus every day of our lives — no matter where the road takes us, or how dark and dangerous it may appear. As Pope Francis reminds us: “Being a disciple means being constantly ready to bring the love of Jesus to others, and this can happen unexpectedly and in any place: on the street, in the city square, during work, on a journey” (The Joy of the Gospel, no. 127).

As this new catechetical year begins, let us with confidence and humility, “strongly urge” ­Jesus to stay with us! He truly wants us to invite him into our lives — again and again. If we do, then surely each one of us will be able to joyfully tell others: “I have met the Lord! Come, let me introduce you!”

David Amico is the Director, Office of Lay Ministry & Parish Faith Formation.