(Third Sunday of Easter: Acts 2:14,22-33; 1 Peter 1:17-21; Luke 24:13-35)
If the two disciples on the Road to Emmaus had owned cell phones, they might never have engaged in conversation with the mysterious traveler who joined them. In their world, however, it was normal to welcome him as a companion along the way. They talked with him, listened to him and invited him to supper. And then, suddenly, he was gone.
On a mountain, far away from any road, two children encountered a mysterious and beautiful lady. She calmed their fears, spoke to them, encouraged them to pass on her words. And then she was gone.
The disciples recognized Jesus in the breaking of bread. The children at first thought that the lady was a battered wife or mother; after she disappeared, they guessed that she might be a great saint, but it was an elderly woman of the locality who recognized that it must have been the Blessed Virgin.
The most significant element these two stories have in common is what happened to the disciples and the children. They were changed, transformed.
Despite the lateness of the hour, the disciples ran back to Jerusalem to share their experience. They had changed from “downcast” to men on fire. “Were not our hearts burning within us?”
From all accounts, Mélanie and Maximin both had burning hearts as well but, tending eight cows, they couldn’t hurry back down the mountain. When they did return to the tiny hamlet called Les Ablandens, the girl had her chores to do, and said nothing. The boy, on the other hand, on being asked by his employer about his day, eagerly told him and others what had happened.
But not only the children, nor only the disciples on the Road to Emmaus, were transformed. The fire that burned in their hearts spread well beyond them.
Others “caught fire,” so to speak, among them the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette, the Sisters of Our Lady of La Salette, and large numbers of laity around the world, all eager to spread that same fire, to share the Good News of the Risen Christ, echoed by the “Great News” of the Beautiful Lady.