The Gospel reading for today is an account of what happen right after Jesus had appeared to the disciples likely a man and his wife on the way to Emmaus, which is about 7 miles from Jerusalem where Jesus had been crucified. You remember that story when Jesus had joined them, but they didn't recognize him. During that walk Jesus had explained to them how the crucified one had fulfilled all the 324 Messianic prophecies scattered throughout the Ole Testament but they didn't realize it was him until the breaking of the bread. Then he disappeared and they quickly made tracks back to Jerusalem and met the 11 apostles and told them what had happened. That is where our Gospel begins and Jesus visited them, showed them that he wasn't a ghost by eating some baked fish with them. Can you imagine how difficult it was for them to get it through their heads that he had accomplished the impossible by rising from the dead.
There is a story about a judge in Yugoslavia who had an unfortunate accident, being electrocuted when he reached to turn the light while standing in the bathtub. His wife found his body, called for help from the neighbors and police. Everyone showed up and he was pronounced dead and taken to the funeral home. The local radio station picked up the story and broadcast the news. In the middle of the night the judge regained consciousness, realized where he was, rushed to alert the night watchman who promptly ran off, terrified. Then he called his wife, and got no further than, Hello darling it's me." when she screamed and fainted. He tried calling a couple neighbors, but they thought it was a sick prank. He even went so far as to go to the homes of several friends, but they were all sure he was a ghost and slammed the door in his face. Finally, he was able to call a friend in the next town who hadn't heard of his death. This friend was able to convince his family and other friends that he really was alive.
Jesus did it a little differently and was able to convince his followers that he truly had risen from the dead. He did it so well that every Christian still understands what he had done, so we have no reason to act out of ignorance as Luke reminds the people in our first reading of what they had done. With that as our base we are to go on from there following Christ and all he taught. One of the problems that each of us has is that our memories are somewhat faulty. I can remember sending each of our five sons a summary of Christ's teachings which each of them had learned in their multiple years in Catholic schools and religious ed programs on two sides of an 8 1/2 paper. Four of the boys said, "We know all that stuff.", but the remaining son said: "Where did all of that come from?" Not just he but most of us, if not all of us need to refresh our memories or possible learn for the first time what Jesus taught, and now is a good time to do just that in that it is the period of mystagogy. I know, what's that? Mystagogy is a Greek word meaning mystery, and it is the 50 days of the Easter Season which extends from Easter to Pentecost. The four who received the final two Sacraments of Initiation, Confirmation and the Eucharist are continuing with their instruction, learning for the first time what it means to be a fully initiated Catholic. Just like any other initiation, or apprenticeship it is just the beginning and to stop learning or even neglect to recall what it is that we have all been initiated into is an error and essentially telling God that you and your truths are not important to me.
In the coming weeks our newest Catholics will be learning that "The Laity", that is all who are not Ordained a Deacon, Priest or Bishop are called to live their life to build God's Kingdom, just as the Ordained are to live is such a way that we can be seen as Catholic Christians by the way we love others. They as well will be reminded that each of us have special gifts which we have been given by God to accomplish that in our individual families, in our prayer life, in our requiremtne to be holy and finally in our requirement to evangelization.
That's what it means to be Catholic for not only the newest Catholics but for all of us. Let's be especially diligent during the remainder of this Easter Season in refreshing our memories of Christ's teaching and expand our efforts to build God's Kingdom here on earth.