• Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, D.C., was one of several distinguished speakers at the “Convocation of Catholic Leaders: The Joy of The Gospel in America.” According to Catholic News Service, Cardinal Wuerl urged the participants who were present to take a look at each other and realize that they, as lay leaders in the church, are responsible for spreading the Gospel message and they shouldn’t waste the moment.

    By Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades

    From July 1 to 4, Catholic leaders from dioceses throughout the United States gathered in Orlando, Florida, for a National Convocation to reflect on our call to be missionary disciples in the United States today. It was an energizing experience for me and our diocesan delegation to be with our brothers and sisters from throughout the country to pray together and to share experiences and insights on what it means to be a Church of missionary disciples.

    3,500 bishops, priests, deacons, religious and lay leaders participated in the National Convocation on the theme: “The Joy of the Gospel in America.” It was an inspiring event as we experienced beautiful liturgies, listened to many excellent speakers, participated in interesting break-out sessions and engaged in informal conversations with other Catholic leaders from throughout our country. The atmosphere was one of joy and hope, even in the face of serious challenges in the task of evangelization today.

    The Convocation looked at the cultural and spiritual landscape of the Church in our country and how Christ is calling us to be missionary disciples in the mission field of our country today. We considered the increasing secularization of our society, in which nearly 25 percent of Americans, including many former Catholics, now identify as religiously unaffiliated (the “nones”). We reflected on the increasing diversity of the Catholic Church in our country, the huge Hispanic presence, the growth of the Church in the South and West, and the declining Catholic population in the Northeast and Midwest. We also looked at the challenges we face in the context of what Pope Francis calls a “throw-away culture,” including problems such as the erosion of marriage and family life and threats to religious freedom.

    As we reflected on the difficult challenges, it was not all “doom and gloom.” The Christian attitude of hope in God and the joy of discipleship permeated the Convocation as we recognized that challenges needed to be faced with renewed faith and trust in the power of God’s grace. We looked at opportunities as well as challenges. We need to be a Church that goes forth and does not retreat from the challenges we face. We cannot be complacent.

    Many speakers emphasized that in going out as missionary disciples, we must also “go in,” that is, we must encounter Christ ourselves and commit ourselves to ongoing conversion and holiness of life. The saints show us the way. This communion with Christ in His Church fills us with joy for witness and mission and prevents discouragement.

    One of the main themes of the Convocation was the call to go out “to the peripheries.” As Pope Francis says, “all of us are asked to obey the Lord’s call to go forth from our comfort zone in order to reach all the peripheries in need of the light of the Gospel.” We discussed these peripheries in the mission field of the Church in the United States, not just social and geographical peripheries, but also the existential peripheries. It means going out to people who are hurting and wounded, who suffer from material or spiritual poverty, to those with addictions, to those who are exploited, to all in need of the love and mercy of Christ. In the words of Pope Francis, the Church is to be like a “field hospital,” where people can receive the healing gifts of Our Lord’s mercy and peace. This discussion of going out to the peripheries stirred us all to think about our own dioceses and parishes and what we are doing or not doing to bring the Gospel of joy to those who are struggling in life.

    The beautiful liturgies and our prayers together at the Convocation reminded us that our missionary discipleship must be nourished by our own union with Christ and openness to the Holy Spirit. We are called to be “Spirit-filled evangelizers.” We cannot give to others what we ourselves do not have. In other words, we cannot neglect our own personal encounter with Jesus Christ if we hope to bring others to encounter Jesus. The best evangelizers are those who live holy lives. We must allow the Holy Spirit to enlighten, guide and direct us in all that we do.

    At the end of the Convocation, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, said that he would tell Pope Francis about the Convocation and “how the Spirit is alive in the Church in the United States.” He said that he will tell the Holy Father “of the commitment of the many missionary disciples and their love for Jesus.” This commitment and love was evident to me at the National Convocation. It is a commitment and love that I see in our diocese, but a commitment that, I pray, will grow. Every Catholic is called to be a joyful missionary disciple. Imagine the fruits for evangelization if every Catholic would embrace this calling!

    Devotion to our Blessed Mother was also evident at the Convocation. Mary is the “Star of the New Evangelization.” She is a beautiful model of missionary discipleship. May Our Lady help us with her prayers to experience the love of her Son and to bring the joy of the Gospel to all whom we meet!

    Posted on July 12, 2017, to:

  • By Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades

    This Sunday, we will be celebrating the beautiful Eucharistic feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi). On this day, the Church gives thanks to God for its greatest treasure: the amazing gift He gave us on the night before He died, the gift of His Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist.

    In the first reading from the Book of Deuteronomy this Sunday, we hear about the hungry people in the desert during the Exodus being fed by God with manna. In the Gospel from St. John, we hear part of the great discourse of Jesus on the Bread of Life in which He refers to the gift of manna and reveals that the bread He will give, also bread from heaven, is even greater since it is His “flesh for the life of the world.” Jesus says: “Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.”

    The great Bishop and Doctor of the Church, St. Ambrose, wrote the following: “What is greater, manna from heaven or the body of Christ?  The body of Christ, of course, for He is the Creator of heaven. In addition, he who ate the manna died but he who has eaten this body, it will become for him the forgiveness of sins and he ‘shall not die forever’.”

    The manna from heaven given by God to His people in the desert during the Exodus is clearly an anticipation or foreshadowing of the Eucharist. The Eucharist is “the new manna.” In fact, the Jewish people expected that there would be a new miracle of manna when the Messiah came. As God fed the people with bread from heaven on their journey in the desert to the promised land, so God feeds us with bread from heaven on our journey through the desert of this life to the promised land of heaven. The bread is different, however, since the bread of the Eucharist is the Bread of Life; it is Jesus, His flesh that gives life through the Holy Spirit.

    The “new manna” of the Eucharist is the food for our journey to heaven. That is why the Eucharist is called “Viaticum,” a Latin word that means “with you on the way.”  The Eucharist is spiritual food. As the manna provided bodily nourishment for the Israelites in the desert, the “new manna” provides spiritual nourishment for us, satisfying our hungry hearts. As we sing so often in a popular hymn: “You satisfy the hungry heart with gift of finest wheat, come give to us, O saving Lord, the bread of life to eat.”

    We are reminded of the gift of manna in the Second Eucharistic Prayer, especially with the more accurate English translation which now reads: “Make holy, therefore, these gifts, we pray, by sending down your Spirit upon them like the dewfall, so that they may become for us the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.” During the Exodus, dew fell upon the camp of the chosen people in the desert and, when it evaporated, the heavenly manna was there on the ground. The dewfall yielded food from heaven for the Israelites on their pilgrimage. For us, in the Eucharist, the dewfall of the Holy Spirit yields the Body and Blood of Christ for our pilgrimage to heaven.

    Another parallel between the manna and the Eucharist is that the Israelites conserved the manna in the Ark of the Covenant, which was kept in the Holy of Holies where God’s presence was adored. Though the manna was not God, it came from God. This foreshadows the tabernacle in our churches where Christ is adored in the Eucharist, His Real Presence. The hosts are kept in a golden ciborium, reminiscent of the gold jar in which the manna was kept in the Ark of the Covenant.

    In Psalm 78:25, the manna is described as the “bread of angels.” It was not eaten by angels, but it was angelic in its supernatural origin. The Eucharist is truly the “bread of angels” because of its effect in our souls. As the angels have a participation in the divine life through grace and glory and thus can be said to partake of this bread, so we are nourished in sanctifying grace through Holy Communion, a participation in divine life. And so we receive the “bread of angels” in the Eucharist, the new manna. St. Thomas Aquinas wrote of this truth in the Sequence for the Mass of Corpus Christi: “Behold the Bread of angels, which became the Bread of wayfarers: truly the Bread of the children, not to be thrown to the dogs.”

    St. Thomas also wrote the hymn “Sacris sollemniis” for the Feast of Corpus Christi, one strophe of which is the text of the popular hymn “Panis angelicus.” In English, it reads: “May the Bread of angels become bread for mankind; the Bread of heaven puts all foreshadowings to an end; Oh, thing miraculous! The Body of the Lord will nourish the poor, the servant, and the humble…”

    The beautiful tradition of processions of the Blessed Sacrament on the feast of Corpus Christi remind us that the Holy Eucharist is truly the new manna for our journey. We walk in procession with the Blessed Sacrament through the streets, expressing our love and devotion, but also to bring the Lord’s presence with us into the world. The Corpus Christi procession reminds us of our mission to carry Christ with us when we leave Mass, to live the mystery of love we have celebrated and received. We are called, in other words, to live “Eucharistic lives.” The Eucharist nourishes us to live our faith with renewed energy and strength, so that our lives are authentic signs of the presence of the Lord.

    If you have the opportunity, I invite and encourage you to participate in a Corpus Christi procession in your area or with me in Elkhart. I will be carrying the Blessed Sacrament in procession from St. Thomas the Apostle Church to St. Vincent de Paul Church in Elkhart, beginning at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 18.

    Let us rejoice in the Lord Jesus, the Bread of life, the New Manna, the Bread of Angels! Have a blessed Feast of Corpus Christi!

    Posted on June 13, 2017, to:

  • Bishop Rhoades greets graduates of the University of Saint Francis, Fort Wayne, following a Baccalaureate Mass on Saturday, May 6. During his homily the bishop encouraged the graduates to “go forth with the faith of Peter.”

    By Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades

    The following is the text of the homily of Bishop Rhoades at the Baccalaureate Mass for the University of Saint Francis on May 6, 2017:

    Dear graduates, you will rightfully receive many words of congratulations this weekend. I add my word of congratulations to you on your graduation from the University of Saint Francis. You celebrate your accomplishments this weekend with your family and friends. You have studied and worked hard to obtain your diplomas. You have grown in knowledge. You are now ready to go forth and to use the knowledge you have acquired. We are proud of you and we pray for you.

    This morning, at this Mass, we are really not gathering to celebrate your accomplishments. We gather to celebrate a much greater accomplishment — God’s accomplishment: the salvation of humanity, the redemption of the world.  How did He accomplish this? He became one of us. He humbled Himself in the Incarnation — He became a man. And not only that, in an act of the greatest humility, the Son of God died on the cross for us. He loved us to the end. This love of God, revealed in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus has changed the course of human history. And this is what we celebrate at this and every Mass. We celebrate the victory of God’s love over sin and even over death. This is the core of our faith.

    The God who loves us, who has conquered sin and death, still humbles Himself. He becomes present in our midst under the humble forms of bread and wine. We have come to this Baccalaureate Mass to give thanks to God and to pray for our graduates. This graduation weekend would not be complete, would not be the celebration it should be, if we were to forget the One who is the source of our life and salvation, the One from whom our graduates received their talents, the One who gives our life meaning and purpose.

    In the Gospel today, we heard about the many people who heard Jesus’ astounding teaching that He was giving us His flesh to eat and His blood to drink and found His teaching too hard to accept. They found Our Lord’s words about the Eucharist shocking, and they stopped following Him. The Gospel says that “many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer walked with him.” Of course, this still happens today. How many people in this culture have walked away from the faith for any number of reasons? Some do so quite consciously — like the people in the Gospel. They find Christ’s teaching, the teaching of His Church, just too hard to accept. Other walk away because they are seduced by other things that they think will bring them happiness. As a result, many eventually find themselves miserable and their lives empty, boring and mediocre.

    But you graduates, who have come for this Baccalaureate Mass, made a conscious choice to worship God on your graduation weekend. You came here for a reason — to celebrate your faith, not just your accomplishments, but the source of your accomplishments. You know that you are pilgrims in this world and that you are on a journey to the city of God. You desire to live your lives with the passion and purpose that come from faith. You know that your true happiness is connected to something greater than yourselves and your accomplishments. You recognize that your life is a gift and that the way to happiness in this world and the next is the way of Jesus of Nazareth and the pursuit of truth, beauty and goodness.

    When so many disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer walked with Jesus, the twelve apostles stayed with Jesus. Our Lord asked them a penetrating question: “Do you also want to leave?” It’s a question that confronts many young people today. Many do in fact choose to leave Christ and separate from His Body, the Church. This is a big challenge for me and for the Church today. At the same time, there are many who don’t leave. They decide to live their lives as disciples of Jesus Christ and active members of His Body, the Church. This gives me much joy and hope for the Church.

    You, graduates, give me much joy and hope, that you are here this morning as young men and women who want to walk the journey of your life with Jesus Christ. It is beautiful to see your faith, the faith expressed by St. Peter in answer to Jesus’ question: “Do you also want to leave?”  Peter said: “Master, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.” Wow — what a response!  It’s the response of faith. I pray that you, graduates, will go forth with the faith of Peter, with the conviction that Jesus has the words of eternal life and that He is the Holy One of God, that He is indeed the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

    I pray that, like this university’s patron, St. Francis of Assisi, you will live your lives not superficially, but profoundly in Christ. St. Francis lived his life superficially until his conversion, when he discovered that following Christ offered him so much more than the party life, the passing pleasures, he had been experiencing. And he found happiness, real joy, in what seemed crazy in his culture – in poverty, in chastity, and in obedience. He found joy in prayer, in being in communion with the Lord.

    Many people today are fooled by our culture, for example, by the entertainment industry and its crazy fixation on sex, and by a consumer-focused and materialistic culture, fooled by false promises of happiness. Graduates, don’t be fooled by those who see you as mere objects of their gratification or as just another consumer in a market of undifferentiated possibilities. Don’t be fooled by those who present freedom and choice as the ultimate good or by a culture in which novelty usurps beauty and subjective experience displaces truth. Christ offers you so much more! He offers you truth and real beauty and lasting joy.

    I know that you are yearning for something more than a life of mediocrity. Certainly you want a good job, a successful career. Maybe some of you are a bit anxious in this regard. Maybe some of you are already set with a job. Whatever your personal situation, there is in your hearts a yearning for something greater, because God created you for something greater. He created you for infinity, for eternal life with Him. I encourage you to live your life with passion for this ultimate end. This is what will give you the strength to face the difficulties of daily life. Your journey of life is not an uncertain one. It’s true that there will be surprises on the way, but your destination is not uncertain. It is heaven. It’s amazing when we live our lives with the focus on that destination, when, like St. Peter, we follow the One who has the words of eternal life.

    I would like to end this homily with some of my favorite words from our Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, words that he said in a homily back in 2005 when he became pope. I can’t think of any better advice for our graduates. Pope Benedict said: “If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful and great. Only in this friendship are the doors of life opened wide. Only in this friendship is the great potential of human existence truly revealed. Only in this friendship do we experience beauty and liberation.” So, graduates, may you live your lives in this great friendship! If you do, you will find happiness and joy. Your life will be beautiful, like St. Francis’ life. It will be an adventure, an adventure of love and a journey of holiness!

    May the Lord be with you on this journey with His abundant love and grace! May your friendship with Him grow each day! Like St. Francis, may your joy in that friendship be a witness to others of the truth and beauty of the Gospel!

    Posted on May 10, 2017, to:

  • A student from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton places a crown on the head of the Blessed Mother during a May Crowning in 2016.

    By Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades

    For centuries, Catholics throughout the world have honored the Blessed Virgin Mary with special devotion during the month of May. At the same time, the month of May largely corresponds with the Church’s liturgical season of Easter, the 50 days between Easter Sunday and Pentecost Sunday. The popular Marian piety encouraged by the Church in the month of May is not at odds with the liturgical season of Easter. There is a wonderful connection that I would like to reflect on in this column.

    First of all, it is good to reflect on Mary in the Easter season and her joy at the Resurrection of her Son. In fact, the Church highlights this joy in the Easter prayer that is called the “Regina caeli.” We sing or say: “Queen of heaven, rejoice, alleluia. For He whom you did merit to bear, alleluia. Has risen as He said, alleluia. Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia. Because our Lord is truly risen, alleluia.”

    Mary had stood at the foot of the cross as the sorrowful Mother, joined with the suffering of her Son. She stood by Jesus in His agony on the cross. We can only imagine her great pain as she witnessed the suffering and death of her beloved Son. It was during this agony that Our Lord gave us Mary as our Mother. In His great love for us, through St. John, Jesus entrusted His mother to us and entrusted us to His mother.

    As Mary shared in the Passion and Death of her Son, it is reasonable to believe that she had a particular share in the mystery of His resurrection. Pope St. John Paul II taught that “the Blessed Virgin was probably a privileged witness of Christ’s resurrection.” Though we don’t have any mention in the Gospels of the Risen Jesus appearing to His Mother, St. John Paul II asks: “How could the Blessed Virgin, present in the first community of disciples (cf. Acts 1:14), be excluded from those who met her divine Son after He had risen from the dead? It is legitimate to think that the Mother was probably the first person to whom the risen Jesus appeared. Could not Mary’s absence from the group of women who went to the tomb at dawn indicate that she had already met Jesus?”

    In the Easter season and during this month of May, we celebrate with Mary the resurrection of the Lord. Truly, Mary’s heart was filled “with joy beyond all telling” at the Resurrection of her Son. We share in her joy and we ask for her prayers, that we may obtain the joys of everlasting life. We think of this lowly handmaid who was raised up by God the Father to reign as queen in glory in the presence of her Son, and we pray: “Queen of heaven, rejoice, for He whom you did merit to bear, has risen as He said!”

    It is also good in the Easter season and in this month of May, to reflect on Mary’s presence in the community of the first disciples waiting for Pentecost. We will celebrate Pentecost this year on June 4th. As we approach the feast of Pentecost, especially in the latter part of May, we can reflect on that first community of disciples praying together in the upper room after Jesus’ Ascension into heaven. Mary was with them in prayer, awaiting the descent of the Holy Spirit. Mary had already been overshadowed by the Holy Spirit at the Annunciation, when she conceived the Son of God in her womb and became the Mother of Christ. At Pentecost, she would again be overshadowed by the Holy Spirit, filled with His grace to fulfill her new role as Mother of Christ’s Body, the Church.

    I encourage devotion to Our Lady of the Cenacle, to our Mother who sustained the disciples in the upper room with her love and the example of her prayer. She is our model of prayer as she prayed with the apostles in the cenacle and was united with them in prayer when they were filled with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. She helped the community to be well disposed for the coming of the Holy Spirit. She helps us to be open to the Holy Spirit and intercedes for us that we may receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit in greater abundance. In the cenacle in Jerusalem, Mary was the spiritual mother of the first disciples. She is our spiritual mother who teaches us to follow her Son and to be guided by the Holy Spirit.

    In light of our Blessed Mother’s joy at her Son’s Resurrection and of her loving and prayerful presence with the disciples in the upper room at Pentecost, we can celebrate this Marian month of May with deeper meaning. I especially recommend praying the holy rosary during this month. In the beautiful prayer of the rosary, we meditate on the mysteries of Jesus, the key moments of His life. As Pope Francis reminds us, when we pray the rosary, Mary helps us to put Jesus at the center of our attention, our thoughts, and our actions. The Holy Father invites us to pray the rosary together in the family or with friends or in the parish. Praying the rosary together strengthens family life, friendships, and parish life.

    On May 13th, we will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the first appearance of Mary to the children of Fatima. On that day, Pope Francis will be canonizing Blessed Jacinta and Blessed Francisco. Here in our diocese, I will be celebrating Mass on Saturday, May 13th, the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, at 8:00 AM at St. John the Baptist Church in Fort Wayne. I invite you to attend this Mass in which we will begin our diocesan celebrations of this centennial year of the Fatima apparitions. Providentially, May 13th will also be the day of the New Evangelization Summit that all are invited to attend at St. John the Baptist Parish, Fort Wayne, and St. Monica Parish, Mishawaka.

    In her first appearance at Fatima, on May 13, 1917, the Blessed Mother said to the children: “Pray the rosary every day to obtain peace for the world, and the end of the war.” She repeated this request that they daily pray the rosary for peace in all six of her apparitions to the children. Given the situation in the world today, it is good for us to put into practice Our Lady’s request to pray the rosary daily for peace in the world today.

    Finally, I wish to mention the pious custom of crowning an image of Our Lady during the month of May. This act of love and devotion can take place in our churches and schools and also in our homes. What does it mean? It is an action that expresses our devotion to Mary our Mother as also our Queen. We believe that she reigns in glory with her Son, interceding for us and all God’s children. In this Easter season, it is a reminder that Mary, the humble handmaid of the Lord when she was on earth, now shares in the glory of her Son’s resurrection and has been exalted by God as the Queen of all creation. The May crowning reminds us that the lowly shall be exalted, as Mary sang in the Magnificat. We honor Our Lady as our Mother and our Queen and we pray that she will help us to follow her Son and one day receive the crown of glory in heaven.


    Posted on May 2, 2017, to:

  • Carl Bloch, Supper at Emmaus, 1870s, Brigham Young University Museum of Art.

    By Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades

    The news of the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead must never become “old news.”  Jesus Christ is alive forever and His Gospel is alive. It is not “old news” and it is not “fake news.” The encounter with the Risen Jesus transformed the many disciples who saw Him and even ate with Him. In the Gospel of this coming Sunday, the Third Sunday of Easter, we will read of the encounter of two of the disciples with the Risen Jesus on the road to Emmaus.

    Cleopas and his unnamed companion had left Jerusalem sad, disappointed, and confused. But their encounter with the Risen Lord transformed them. They experienced a conversion from despair to hope and from sorrow to joy. This is what happens in our life, a journey not unlike the disciples’ journey from Jerusalem to Emmaus. Our lives can become immersed in doubt, sadness, and disappointment. This happens especially when we leave Jerusalem, that is, when we drift away from the Jerusalem of the Crucified and Risen One, no longer believing in the power and in the living presence of the Lord. We can be like the Emmaus disciples and say: “we had hoped in Jesus of Nazareth.” “We were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel.” The crucifixion and death of Jesus had shattered their hope. When we experience sorrow and suffering in our life or the problems of injustice and evil, we can be tempted to lose hope and depart from Jerusalem, even leave the Church. Yet, the Risen Lord seeks to walk with us, to illuminate the journey of our life, to teach us and give us hope.

    The two disciples on the road to Emmaus allowed this man whom they did not recognize to walk with them and to teach them. He explained the Scriptures to them. He helped them to understand the Law and the prophets. He showed them that the Scriptures revealed that the Messiah would suffer and then enter into His glory. St. Luke tells us that “Jesus interpreted to them what referred to Him in all the Scriptures.” This encounter with the teaching of Jesus fascinated the two disciples. It made their hearts burn within them. They didn’t want Him to leave them. They urged Jesus, whom they still did not recognize, to stay with them. “Stay with us,” they said, “for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.”

    The encounter with Jesus in His word can also fascinate us. It illumines our minds and warms our hearts. It helps us to interpret the events of life and give them meaning. The Lord indeed walks beside us and explains the Scriptures to us, helping us to understand the great mystery. And this can make our hearts burn within us as we discover more deeply, more profoundly, the truth and beauty of our faith. What a blessing that we, like the Emmaus disciples, can encounter the Risen One who transforms our life, by listening to His word!

    The Lord accepted the disciples’ urgent invitation to stay with them. He sat down to eat with them. St. Luke tells us: “while He was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them.” It was the very same action Jesus performed at the Last Supper. And it was with that “that their eyes were opened and they recognized Him.” Jesus had enlightened them by His word and then He broke the bread with them. He re-enacted the Last Supper with them. This was the climax of His encounter with the two disciples. He revealed His identity to them in the breaking of the bread. This is what restored to them the gaze of faith. And so it is in our lives. When we invite the Lord to stay with us, He accepts the invitation. He not only walks with us and teaches us through the Scriptures, He breaks bread with us. In the mystery of the Eucharist, we too recognize Him.

    After the disciples recognized Him, Jesus vanished from their sight. But He stays with them; He stays with us; He stays with the Church, hidden in the breaking of the bread, at every Mass. Jesus promised: “I will be with you always until the end of the world.” Indeed, the Lord is present in every tabernacle of the world even until the end of time. The Eucharist is the great sacrament in which the Risen Lord remains with us and fills our Christian journey with hope.

    The encounter with Jesus in the Scriptures and in the breaking of the bread is not the end of the story. The two disciples left Emmaus at once and returned to Jerusalem, where they told the other disciples what had taken place. They shared with them their experience, their encounter with the Risen Lord. We who have encountered the Risen Lord cannot keep to ourselves the joy we have experienced. We are called to share that joy, the joy of the Gospel. We are charged to go forth to work for the spread of the Gospel. We are sent on mission. The dismissal at the end of Mass reminds us of this. “Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.” “Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.” The Eucharist gives us the interior strength for this mission. Through us, the hope of the Gospel is meant to be spread throughout society and culture. The Holy Spirit guides and strengthens us for this mission. This is the grace we received at Confirmation: to bear witness to Christ in our words and deeds.

    The journey of the two disciples to Emmaus and then back to Jerusalem is our journey, the Church’s journey. It is a journey that moves from despair to hope, from confusion to clarity, from sadness to joy. It is the journey of conversion, the journey of the Christian life. The prayer for the journey is the prayer of the two disciples: “Stay with us, Lord!” The Lord always answers this prayer. He is with us always. He walks at our side. He opens to us the Scriptures and He remains with us in the Eucharist, the great mystery of His presence, “the perfect fulfillment of His promise to remain with us until the end of the world” (St. John Paul II, Mane nobiscum Domine).

    Posted on April 26, 2017, to: