Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us 7-11: Jesus, The Model Teacher

We continue exploring the introduction to the US Bishops’ Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us. Paragraphs 7 through 15 illustrate Jesus, the Model Teacher. What do the bishops mean? The longer episode from which the title of this document is derived is the encounter on the road to Emmaus, verses 13-15 in the 24th chapter of Luke’s Gospel. The bishops cite the methodology of the Lord as the basis for this treatise on adult formation. (7)

The first step (8) is accompanying people “in their daily concerns and walk side by side with them.” Sounds a lot like Pope Francis. Not to mention the personalism of the ministry of John Paul II. What does Jesus do on the way? He asks questions and listens to answers. Such an approach is respectful of the companion as an adult, and as someone who has an initial curiosity about God, faith, or the Church.

When it is our turn to speak, we will do as Jesus did. He was able to discern the mood and need, and he applied the Word of God to great effect. If you read the Emmaus passage, the pair invited Jesus to stay with them a bit longer. Then they recognized him, and then they testified their hearts were burning. If our preachers, readers, catechists, witnesses are getting this kind of response from inquirers, then we’ll know we’ve discerned the right people to share the message.

As I read through the next few paragraphs, one value I see for the Church and its ministers to embrace is trust. Trust in the “capacity of prayer and sacrament,” As a liturgist, I approve of that message. Also, it underscores the importance of a deep and accessible knowledge of Scripture. That’s a lot. Parables of Jesus are a start. Psalms for the expanse of human emotion in prayer to God. It never ends.

The bishops ask, “Why were their hearts burning?” (11) Here is an important quote:

(B)ecause in Jesus the disciples caught a glimpse into the heart of God and found their world made new. They saw for an instant the full scope of the Father’s loving plan and its high point in Christ’s death and resurrection. In that perspective, the pathway of their lives opened from confusion and despair into conviction and hope, and they began to grasp the height and depth of God’s mysterious love. What a profound learning experience that must have been!

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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