That very same day, two of them were on their way to a village called Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking about all that had happened. Now as they talked this over, Jesus himself came up and walked by their side but something prevented them from recognising him. . . When they drew near to the village to which they were going, he made as if to go on; but they pressed him to stay with them. . . He took the bread and said the blessing; then he broke it and handed it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognised him. . . Then they said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us as he talked to us on the road . . .” (Luke 24: 13-35)
The Gospel of Luke tells of two disciples who, after the Resurrection of Jesus, are travelling on the road to Emmaus, moving away from Jerusalem. They are disheartened at the turn of events which saw their friend crucified, destroying their hopes that he was the Messiah, “the one to set Israel free”. Jesus accompanies them, listening as they tell of their disappointment and fears. He patiently teaches them about the true significance of these events and helps them to make sense of what they have experienced in the light of what they already knew from the Scriptures. They fail to recognise Jesus until he breaks bread with them. Renewed by this encounter with their companion on the journey, they set out on the road back to Jerusalem to proclaim their new understanding and their faith in Jesus as Saviour.
For some, this story says much about how people can be supported in life and helped towards mature faith by companions who are able to meet them where they are in life, prepared to accompany them as they explore the true significance of the Good News which can transform their lives. Companions on the Journey outlines a strategic approach to helping teachers to be wise and faithful companions to young people as they learn and grow in faith. It is intended to help teachers to develop in wisdom and faith, as well as in understanding and skill. It will help them to develop the skills of accompaniment, listening and accepting with an open mind and heart as they walk together with young people. This strategic approach aims to assist teachers to respond to the vocation to teach in Catholic schools. It outlines ways in which teachers can benefit from relevant professional learning opportunities which will support them in their work at every level in a Catholic school. It will help teachers to use language which expresses meaningfully, in ways which young people can understand, and within today’s cultural context, the eternal truth of the Gospel.