The attached image and verse is from Luke, the Gospel reading for today, the third Sunday in the Easter season. It is the first day of the week following the crucifixion and death of Jesus, and two of the disciples are walking into the village when Jesus approaches. They are for some reason prevented from recognizing Him as Jesus… no doubt thinking “Jesus is dead,” and not allowing themselves to believe that it could be him, but one likely also whispering to the other: ” wow, how much he looks like Jesus!” There is a critically-important message in this Gospel, for these times. I won’t go into any great detail in this post about the “why” and dynamics of all of that, other than to say that the essential operations now at play in our society defining the social-psychology of the masses (what sociologist Emile Durkheim referred to as the “collective unconscious”) are so powerful to have created the conditions for the “great deception” prophezied in the scriptures for the end times, coming on the eve of the appearance of the Antichrist. “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, so that if it were possible, they should deceive the very elect.” [ Matthew 24:24]. “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths” (2 Timothy 4:3–4). That deception can happen even with devout Christians if they fail to do the thing that Jesus continuously told us to do to avoid falling into such a trap, and that is to “watch and pray!” “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” [ Matthew 26:41]. Watch what exactly?Ourselves! More precisely, we now need to be continuously aware of or, in other words, to “watch” where we put our attention. If we’re not putting it on Jesus, we’re not going to recognize Him – and if that happens, then we are also unfortunately likely going to be with that very large group of people being deceived. Watching is all about having control of one’s interior spiritual life, and a big part of the “great deception” is to entice and captivate attention on the works of man rather than the promises of God. We need to continuously remind ourselves that the battle within which we are engaged is spiritual! Deception happens when we allow our attention to be captivated by thinking processes that are handed to us, uncritically, that then lead us into a quagmire of confusion. Those stories create social fear and alienation, which then leads to a collective consensus of agreement among those people, who, when the same people who deceive them present them with a solution, another enticing but false narrative handed to us, gobble that up as well. It is eaten up by people with no faith quickly because they got nothing else to hook their wagon to; but also by many with faith, because it seems so needed and promising, and they are not watching and praying. So false solutions are supported, without even checking, let alone double-checking, simply because they are offered within the context of a story that helps to alleviate the confusion, fear and unpleasant “imaginings of dire outcomes” that are suggested as part of the false narrative. This allows those who accept it to feel better and rid themselves of the anxiety and fear of those promised catastrophes. To pay attention is to give attention, just like you pay with money to get what you want. Only when we’re deceived, we don’t get what we want, we get a false promise that we will get what we want and need, so we hand over our only true currency, our attention. What you think about is where your heart is, and at the “heart” of your heart, is, of course, that burning desire for fulfillment. So if it’s being handed over as payment to a deceiver offering solutions that never come, it isn’t going where it should be going continuously: God. You know how, when you want to stay at some place for supper but you haven’t been invited, you “feign” leaving to create an opportunity to hear, “don’t be foolish, come and sit in… there’s lots to go around”?That’s what Jesus does in today’s Gospel. He makes it seem that he’s going on farther, but the two disciples insist that he join them for a meal. Then, when he breaks the bread and gives a blessing, they recognize him as Jesus.Jesus wants to come into our lives. He needs to be invited. That’s the critically important message in this post and today’s Gospel. If you don’t give Jesus your attention, you will not recognize Him walking with you continuously, as He is this moment as you’re reading this, hoping beyond hope that you invite Him to break bread.