Lector's Notes

by Gregory Warnusz

First Reading

In the first place, pronounce carefully a few words that are not part of our everyday vocabulary: “commended,” “lawless,” “throes,” “exulted,” “netherworld,” (twice) and “exalted, ” (not exulted). Some of these words are key to Peter’s argument. Secondly, you may well feel stirred by your reading of this passage. But resolve now not to deliver the whole speech at one high level of oratorical intensity. If your congregation is primarily television-sated people in a developed country, their attention spans can’t handle two and half minutes of that. (Right. Proclamation of this passage, at a moderate pace, takes the time consumed by five TV commercials.) Specifically:

1) Let your proclamation peak first at “But God raised him up, releasing him from the throes of death, because it was impossible for him to held by it.”

2) Pause at the end of the quotation of the psalm, and let it be known that Peter is here beginning his own commentary on David’s words.

3) The kernel of Peter’s logic in citing David is that David spoke predicting the resurrection of the Messiah (the Christ). That’s expressed in the long, difficult sentence “But since he was a prophet, … nor did his flesh see corruption.” This is the sentence demanding the most care: contrasting tones of voice, wisely placed pauses, emphasis on the last phrase (“… that neither was he abandoned …”).

4) Bring this home to your present-day congregation by emphasizing the last sentence, with its promise of the Holy Spirit. After all, we are people of faith today not because we like to listen to old stories, but because we’ve accepted the Spirit poured forth; without that power and wisdom we would never find ourselves in Scripture, nor hear our own stories told their first.

Second Reading

you can do this only with careful phrasing and varied tones of voice. To prepare, print out the text (or use your missallette) and mark up the copy with pauses, emphases, changes of tone, brackets enclosing units of thought, whatever it takes. Practice this aloud and often. Practice in front of a friendly critic who will forgo the comfort of a missallette, so he or she can tell you what you seem to be saying. Remember the writer’s goals (same goals as last Sunday): 1) that the recipients will sense God’s providence in their situation, 2) that they’ll understand the place of their present struggles in broader history. Ask your critic if that comes across in your proclamation.

Introductions

by Gregory Warnusz

First Reading

The book of Acts introduces pagan converts to the roots of their new religion. Today we read of an early stage when Peter addressed a strictly Jewish audience about Jesus.

Second Reading

The writer of the First Letter of Peter tells his audience they are fortunate to live in the time when they could turn to Christ from paganism.

Gospel

Two discouraged disciples had left the company of believers in Jerusalem. They are turned around and rejoined with the church first by coming to understand the scriptures, then by breaking bread.

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Acts 2:14, 22-23

Peter preaching the Good News about Jesus, the One sent by God to bring salvation to all the people.

Peter’s Speech

by Fr. Eamon Tobin

FIRST READING—Luke builds a bridge between Jesus and the Church. In last Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus breathes on the Apostles, infusing them with the Holy Spirit and empowering them to preach the Good news.

In this reading, we witness Peter and the other Apostles doing just that: preaching the Good News about Jesus, the One sent by God to bring salvation to all the people. Even though Jesus is able to work signs and wonders, he is rejected by his own people (but raised up by God).

Jesus’s death is not a random act but a part of the mystery of God’s plan that also includes his Resurrection and his exaltation in the glory of heaven. Peter is not accusing his fellow Jews but pointing out God’s plan of salvation.

In the middle of the reading, we have a quotation from Psalm 16:8-11. The New Testament writers often quoted the Old Testament to show their readers that Jesus’ coming and death were foretold in their own Hebrew scriptures.


Further Study

In the First Reading, on the Jewish Feast of Pentecost, fifty days after Jesus’ Resurrection, St. Peter addressed a Jewish crowd after the miracle of God the Holy Spirit filling and indwelling the disciples gathered in the Upper Room of the Last Supper (Acts 2:1-13).  In delivering the address, St. Peter exercised his role as the Vicar of Christ and the ordained leader of the Church (Mt 16:17-19).

This passage is the first of the sermons Peter delivered, giving the kerygma (Greek for “proclamation”) of the Gospel message of salvation (Acts 2:14-39; 3:12-26; 4:8-12; 5:29-32; 10:34-43).  Each of Peter’s addresses delivered the substance of the Gospel message of salvation in Jesus Christ, the theme of which we proclaim in the Second Memorial Acclamation at Mass: “Dying you destroyed our death, rising you restored our life.  Lord Jesus, come in glory!”

Peter Stands Up with the Eleven

It is significant in verse 14 that Peter stood up with the “Eleven” Apostles since Matthias replaced Judas Iscariot in Acts 1:26, and the Apostles again number twelve.  Peter is one of “the Twelve,” but here, the emphasis is on Peter, who is with the others but separate/stands alone from the other eleven.  He is one of Twelve but the recognized leader of the Eleven, who are the first apostolic college of the Church.

Peter speaks as the leader of the apostolic body as he did in Acts 1:15 and continues to do in Acts 2:37; 3:4, 6, 12; 4:8, 13; 5:3, 8-9, 15, 29; Chapters 10-11 and 15:7-11.  In Peter’s homily to the Jewish crowd at Pentecost, he preaches as Jesus taught the Apostles and disciples on Resurrection Sunday in the Gospel of Luke Chapter 24, referring to the Sacred Scriptures fulfilled in Jesus, the promised Davidic Messiah (see Is 11:1-5, 10; Ez 34:23; 37:25; Mt 1:1).

Agape Bible Study by Michal E. Hunt; used with permission.
St. Peter quotes the Old Testament

In his address, St. Peter quotes from several Old Testament Scripture passages and applies them to the present situation.  He quotes from the book of the prophet Joel (Acts 2:17-21) and the Psalms of David (Acts 2:25-28 and 34-35).  All quotes and references to Old Testament Scripture are from the Septuagint (LXX) Greek translation of the Old Testament (some passages are the same in Greek as in the Hebrew texts).

Jesus ministered to the “Israelites” for a period that spanned three Passovers (verse 22). “Israelites” is the inclusive term for all descendants of the twelve tribes and includes Galileans, Jews from Judea, and all those living outside the Holy Land in the diaspora of the Gentile world. Peter tells them that it was God’s divine plan that Jesus should suffer and die and to be “raised up” from death. He was a man, delivered up by the set plan and foreknowledge of God (verse 23). Peter told the people they must understand the events that transpired in the death and Resurrection of Jesus from the perspective of the prophecies in Sacred Scripture.

Agape Bible Study by Michal E. Hunt; used with permission.
Jesus descended into Sheol/Hades

God released Jesus from the state that was the destination of all the dead from the time of Adam’s fall from grace. Upon His death, Jesus descended into Sheol/Hades just like all humans because He was fully man, but Sheol/Hades could not hold Him because He was also fully God. In death, both the righteous and the wicked went to Sheol/Hades before the Advent of the Messiah. It was a place where sinners suffered in judgment for the purification of their sin, and where the righteous awaited the coming of the Messiah, banqueting with father Abraham. Jesus described the different conditions in Sheol/Hades in the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man in Luke 16:19-31. St. Peter taught that even the people who perished in the time of Noah had the hope of liberation from Sheol/Hades by the promised Messiah (1 Pt 3:18-20). Also, see CCC 632-633 and Sirach 3:1-12, where verse 7 refers to the promised liberation of the righteous from Sheol described in 1 Peter 3:18-20 and 4:6.

Agape Bible Study by Michal E. Hunt; used with permission.
King David's Prophecies of the Messiah

Continuing his theme of the prophecies that pointed to the coming of the Messiah and the new age Jesus inaugurated as foretold in Sacred Scripture, Peter now turns to the Psalms. According to Jewish tradition, King David was born and later died on the Jewish Feast of Pentecost c. 970 BC, so it is a very appropriate reference for the crowd. Peter begins by quoting first, without any additions or alterations, from Psalms 15:8-11 LXX (16:8-11 in the Hebrew translation in NAB) in Acts 2:25-28 (see the Psalm Reading in this lesson). Psalm 16 is a psalm attributed to David and is therefore understood to be a reflection of his personal experience/understanding of God. Viewing this quotation from the perspective of Jesus’ Resurrection, the words and phrases appear to anticipate those God-ordained events. Even in His darkest moments on the Cross, Jesus did not despair because He knew God was with Him, and He knew the promise of His bodily resurrection from the dead. His flesh “was not abandoned to Hades,” nor did His Body “suffer corruption” (Ps 16:11 and quoted in Acts 2:27). Jesus knew the Father was going to resurrect Him from death, and He would ascend bodily to the Father, as He did in Acts 1:9-11, which the disciples witnessed, as Peter mentions in verse 32.

According to a long-standing Christian tradition, dating back to the 4th century AD when St. Helena went to the Holy Land to identify the sites associated with Christ and the early Church, the Upper Room was built above the tomb of King David. Most modern scholars dismiss this tradition, but in St. Peter’s statement in verse 29, you can visualize him standing outside the house of the Upper Room and gesturing to the tomb of David on the first floor. According to Scripture, David’s burial was in the holy city of Jerusalem (1 Kng 2:10). The Jewish historian/priest Flavius Josephus (37-100 AD) wrote there could be no graves in the holy city of Jerusalem except those of David, his family, and the prophetess Huldah (Antiquities of the Jews, 7.15.3; 13.8.4; Jewish Wars, 1.2.5).

Agape Bible Study by Michal E. Hunt; used with permission.

Ps 16:1-2, 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11

Lord, you will show us the path of life

by Fr. Eamon Tobin

RESPONSORIAL PSALM—This psalm expresses confidence and trust in God.


Further Study

The Responsorial Psalm is a psalm “of David” in which God saves His “chosen one” from destruction. St. Peter applied this psalm to God’s supreme “Chosen One, Jesus Christ, in his sermon to the Jewish crowd on Pentecost Sunday (Acts 2:25-33) in our First Reading, quoting Psalm 116:8-11 from the Greek translation of the Old Testament. Peter’s point was that David spoke prophetically of Jesus, son of David (Mt 1:1), Son of God, since Jesus fulfilled David’s psalm. God preserved His “Chosen One” when He raised Jesus from the dead according to His divine plan to show all who believe in Jesus the pathway to eternal life.

1 Peter 1:17-21

“Now if you invoke as Father him who judges impartially according to each one’s works, conduct yourselves with reverence during the time of your sojourning,” (1 Pt 1:17).

Reverence

by Fr. Eamon Tobin

SECOND READING—Although the earliest believers in Jesus do find themselves ‘at home’ in their newly discovered way of living, they also realize that because of their faith in Jesus, they are no longer ‘at home’ in the world. They feel like ‘sojourners in a strange land.” In today’s reading, Peter urges these sojourners to “conduct themselves with reverence.” They must remember that they were delivered from a “futile way of life”—not by silver and gold but by the Precious Blood of Jesus.


Further Study

St. Peter describes the effect of Christ’s death and Resurrection on Christians in terms of the first Passover and Exodus liberation of the children of Israel in Egypt. The Christian’s faith journey is like the Exodus Passover experience of the children of Israel. Like the Israelites, Christians are sojourners in a strange land who have been delivered by the blood of a spotless victim, Jesus Christ. We first experience His deliverance in the waters of the Sacrament of Baptism as we make our way on our faith journey through this earthly life. We have hope and faith in our final deliverance from the sufferings of this temporal existence because God raised Jesus from the dead according to the set plan and foreknowledge (Acts 2:23) determined by God before the creation of the world (1 Pt 1:20). Earthly treasures are perishable, but Christ has given us an imperishable gift. The redemption and justification by the blood of Christ and His Resurrection to glory was God the Father’s eternal plan to consecrate His New Covenant people through faith in God the Son and with the hope of their future eternal spiritual and bodily resurrection.

Luke 24:13-35

Supper at Emmaus by Vecellio Tiziano (1490-1576)

Jesus’ appearance on the road to Emmaus

by Fr. Eamon Tobin

GOSPEL— This is Luke’s well-known and loved Emmaus journey story. In it we notice a movement from the darkness of unbelief to the light of faith, a movement from despair to hope. It is also a beautiful instruction on the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.

The first part of the story is like our Liturgy of the Word. Jesus proclaims a word to the two despairing disciples and opens their eyes to the meaning of the Scriptures.

Then we have a Liturgy of the Eucharist. Just as he did at the Last Supper, Jesus takes bread, blesses it, breaks it and gives it to the disciples. In the breaking of the bread, the eyes of the disciples are opened and they come to believe in Jesus’ presence. Some commentators note that Luke uses this story to communicate to those who are missing the physical presence of Christ, that their celebration of the Eucharist is the new way that Jesus is going to be with them. Just as he fed them prior to the Resurrection with his teaching, now he will continue to feed and nourish them in and through the proclamation of the Scriptures and the breaking of the bread. When they (and we) gather together to listen to his Word and break bread, Jesus is truly in our midst.


Further Study

In today’s Gospel, Jesus’ disciples from Emmaus respond to both God’s word in Sacred Scripture and His sacramental sign when they recognize Jesus in the “breaking of the bread.” Their response was a reversal of the condition of Adam and Eve when their “eyes were opened” to sin. Do you recognize that Christ the Lord is “risen today”? Do you share your experience of Christ with others by talking about the difference Jesus has made in your life? Have you considered joining a Bible Study to learn about how God’s plan for man’s salvation in the Old Testament is fulfilled in Christ, so you will understand and recognize Christ like the Emmaus disciples in the “breaking of the bread” that becomes Christ in the Eucharist?

The disciple named Cleopas

One of the disciples is a man named Cleopas (also rendered as Clopas or Cleophas; see Jn 19:25). According to the Church Fathers, Cleopas was a kinsman of Jesus and the father of Simon/Simeon, the second Christian Bishop of Jerusalem, who succeeded St. James after his martyrdom. The early Church historian Hegesippus (early to mid-2nd century AD) records that Cleopas was the uncle of Jesus and the brother or brother-in-law of St. Joseph (Church History, Book IV, chapter 22; Church History, III.11.1 page 146). Jesus’ disciple, Mary of Cleopas/Clopas, is either Cleopas’ wife or daughter.

Agape Bible Study by Michal E. Hunt; used with permission.
The disciples call Jesus a prophet

The disciples call Jesus a “prophet” in verse 19. St. Luke will refer to Jesus as a “prophet” five times in his Gospel (4:24; 7:16, 39; 13:33; 24:19) and three times in Acts (Acts 3:22-23; 7:37; 8:34-35) for a total of eight times. It is a title that depicts Jesus as the new Moses of the new Exodus and the fulfillment of the promised supreme prophet in Deuteronomy 18:17-19 (see Lk 9:31 when Moses and Elijah spoke with Jesus about His “exodus” from Jerusalem). The two disciples express this same hope of a “new Moses” in verse 21 when they say they hoped that Jesus would be the one to “redeem” Israel. It is a theme of redemption that St. Luke began in 1:68 and 2:38. They don’t yet comprehend that Jesus’ “redemption of Israel” is to be understood in spiritual terms as the restored faithful remnant of the covenant people of God (see Acts 13:23). Notice the Emmaus disciples confirm the visit of the women disciples to the tomb recorded in the other Gospels and Peter and John’s visit to the empty tomb (see Jn 20:1-10).

Agape Bible Study by Michal E. Hunt; used with permission.
Jesus began to teach them

Jesus then began to teach them, starting with the Torah (the five books of Moses from Genesis to Deuteronomy) and continuing with the Psalms (see Peter’s reference to the Psalms 16:8-11 in our First Reading in Acts 2:29-30) and books of the prophets. Jesus gave them a lesson on all the Scripture passages that were prophecies about Him and His mission of redemption and salvation. This is why it is our Catholic Tradition to study the Old Testament in the light of Christ in the New Testament. St. Augustine wrote, “for the New Testament lies hidden in the Old and the Old Testament is unveiled in the New” (St. Augustine, Quaestiones in Heptateuchum 2,73; see CCC 128-129).

Agape Bible Study by Michal E. Hunt; used with permission.
Lord's Supper and the Emmaus meal

Still not recognizing Jesus, they invite Him to their home to have dinner and to spend the night.  What takes place during the meal “opens their eyes” concerning the traveler’s true identity.  There is a significant similarity between Jesus’ actions at the dinner with the Emmaus disciples and the events of the Lord’s Supper in Luke 22:14-19:

Luke 22:14-19 (Lord’s Supper) Luke 24:30 (Emmaus meal)
he took his place at table with the apostles while he was with them at table
Then he took the bread he took the bread
said the blessing said the blessing
broke it and gave it to them broke it and gave it to them
Agape Bible Study by Michal E. Hunt; used with permission.
The disciples eyes were opened

Verse 31 is the second use of the Greek word epiginosoko, also see verse 16. In contrast to their eyes “being bound” in 24:16 and their failure to “recognize/know” [epiginosoko] Jesus, their eyes are now “opened.” They do not just “see” Jesus they “recognize/know” Him. Recognizing the messianic significance of the Scriptures Jesus explained to them, they were also able to recognize/know Jesus in the breaking of the bread.

What happened to the Emmaus disciples is a reversal of the condition of Adam and Eve when “their eyes were opened” to sin. The wording “their eyes were opened, and they recognized” Jesus in Luke 24:31 and 35 is the same as in the Greek Septuagint (LXX) translation account of Adam and Eve’s sin after eating the forbidden fruit: Then their eyes were opened, and they realized/recognized that they were naked (Gen 3:7). Jesus “opened” the Scriptures to them in the same way that He brought about the “opening” of their eyes in the breaking of the bread in verse 31. Now humanity’s eyes in every generation will continue to be “opened” to Christ in “the breaking of the bread” in the Eucharist.

Agape Bible Study by Michal E. Hunt; used with permission.

Reflection Questions

by Fr. Eamon Tobin

1. Turn to the person next to you and share what word/s or image/s in the readings caught your attention. Did they comfort or challenge you or touch you in some way? Which part of the Passion story speaks to you most this year? Why?

2. The Christians in today’s second reading felt like ‘aliens’ in their world. In what ways might Christians feel like aliens in today’s world? What are concrete examples of ‘futile conduct’ mentioned by Peter?

3. Like the two disciples in today’s Gospel, we too are on a spiritual journey. What do we have in common with the two disciples? What can we learn from their experience?

4. Have you ever felt as if your heart was “burning within you” because of some touch or experience of God?

5. Name one thing today’s Gospel says to us that we disciples of Jesus need to heed and act on.

Call to Action

The next time you attend Mass, try to be more attentive to the awesome event that you are privileged to participate in. Also, examine whether you are presently engaged in any “futile conduct,” and if so, turn away from it. Is there a fire burning in your heart: words of forgiveness not spoken, a lie not confessed, or encouragement not offered? Find a way to express it this week.

Shared Prayer

Jesus, as you joined the two disciples on their journey, so do you always accompany me in my walk with you. Open my eyes to see your presence and hear your word to me. Amen.

Closing Prayer

Jesus, walk with us in the journey of life. Make our hearts burn with a sense of your presence. Help us to be zealous messengers of your love and mercy. Amen.

SUNDAY VOICES

Video by Larry Broding. Visit Word-Sunday.com website for detailed commentary and other resources regarding the readings for this Sunday.


How restorative justice can heal our trauma

Mary J. Novak Preaches for the Third Sunday of Easter

“Feeling guilty, infuriated, overwhelmed with grief: we all experience the spiritual desolation that can accompany these feelings in our world and Church today. What can we do besides turn away and run? We can walk alongside one another and listen deeply, restoratively. As we listen in circle, when we feel the healing love of Christ in our midst, slowly, the desolation can turn, widening our perspective. We may even experience spiritual consolation, a sense that our hearts are burning as we listen to each other. From this encounter, we might even begin to trust that a way forward will emerge as it did for the disciples on the road to Emmaus”

CATHOLIC WOMEN PREACH – April 12, 2020

Introduction to 3rd Sunday of Easter readings

EXCERPT — The challenging questions continue. How do we encounter this risen Christ? Where do we find him? Our search is no different from our early Christian brothers and sisters. When they broke bread together in the Eucharist, they realized that he was there. By participating in this holy meal as members of a believing community, we experience that same presence among us. We learn about the power of being with one another in the simplest gestures of life. What could be more universal than breaking bread together — whether at an altar or an ordinary table?

NCR SUNDAY RESOURCESJoan DeMerchant


The Eucharist and welcoming (Children’s homily)

EXCERPT – As we share together communion today, Jesus is asking us to welcome those who are a little different, to be accepting of those whom maybe other people ridicule. Communion with Jesus is communion with everyone Jesus loves. And Jesus loves everyone. So as we share this meal with Jesus at this table today, my prayer for all of us is that will be blessed with the ability to welcome and accept others, and that this gift will be ours today and always.

BUILDING ON THE WORDFr. George Sigma


The Church’s Official Magisterial Authority

EXCERPT – Who is it that interprets the Words of God…is it the priest or deacon or bishop? No. Not individually. It is our Mother the Church through the Official Magisterial Authority given her. Jesus did not leave us forsaken. Jesus still guides the Church. Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost with the promise that He would lead and guide the Church into all truth. Jesus established the Apostles to be the first Bishops and High Priests and Peter as the first Vicar of Christ. The Pope is the Vicar of St. Peter, and therefore of Christ. He is the Living Representative and rules the Church with the bishops in Communion with him. Peter and the Church can not err in matters of faith and Morals.

MASS HOMILIESDeacon Joseph Pasquella (Confraternity of Penitents)


The mission of the disciples and the witness of Thomas

EXCERPT — Jesus meets the two friends who are experiencing feelings of fear and dispersion, of lack of trust and dismay. They were fleeing. The force of death, the cross, had killed in them all hope. Jesus approaches them and walks with them. He listens to their conversation and says: “What matters are you discussing as you walk along?” The prevailing ideology prevents them from understanding and having a critical conscience. “Our own hope had been that he would be the one to set Israel free, but…” (Lk 24:21). What do those who suffer talk about today? What matters today put our faith in a state of crisis? The first step is this: to approach people, listen to reality, problems; be capable of asking questions that help to look at reality more critically. Jesus [then] uses the Bible, not in order to give lessons on the Bible, but to shed light on the problem worrying the two friends, and thus shed light on the situation they were experiencing. With the help of the Bible, Jesus leads the two disciples into God’s plan and shows them that God has not allowed history to go astray…

THE ORDER OF CARMELITESLectio Divina: Sundays of Lent


If the Gospel were a musical…

EXCERPT — If the Gospel of Luke were performed as musical theater, the melodies accompanying the Emmaus ­­­journey would sound hauntingly familiar because they would reprise the entire Gospel. We would hear the joyful chorales that accompanied healings and the whimsical jingles created each time Jesus outfoxed leaders and lawyers. There would be the expected strains from the Passion as the two travelers discussed all that had just happened. Those would be accompanied by ominous percussion as the disciples attempted to enlighten their anonymous companion about what had happened. The music that had accompanied Jesus’ death would resonate underneath their description of the crucifixion.

NATIONAL CATHOLIC REPORTERMary M. McGlone, CSJ


How can we follow the example of the disciples this Easter?

EXCERPT — Although most of today’s Gospel focuses on conversations, it is Jesus’ actions that reveal his identity. These actions change how the disciples understand him and themselves. They vividly assert that their hearts were burning when they learned about Scripture from Christ. Moreover, when they later share their encounter with the apostles, the disciples affirm that it was the breaking of bread that revealed Jesus’ identity. As we continue through the Easter season, be inspired to learn from these disciples, who grow in faith by their openness to seeing God in their lives.

AMERICA MAGAZINEJamie Waters


The testing of faith

EXCERPT — It’s a lovely Easter story that the Gospel of Luke gives us. Here we have two people who seem to think everything is over. They have just experienced a great loss. “We had hoped,” they say, “he was the one to set Israel free.” Not only have they left the community, they don’t place much credence in the testimony of the women who heard angels declaring Jesus alive… Imagine this incident as a metaphor of how God deals with someone who has gone away or lost the way, an image of how we could deal with each other in our unbelief. With the breaking of the bread, the two wayfarers are brought into communion, even though they have not fully acknowledged the mystery that beckons them.

SUNDAY WEB SITEFather John Kavanaugh, SJ


Jesus shows us the path to life

EXCERPT (2017)— Viewing Christian life as a “journey” is a metaphor with deep biblical roots. In his sermon Peter cites Psalm 16, “You have made known to me the paths of life” — a refrain picked up in the Psalm response for today. The First Letter of Peter in today’s second reading also speaks of our lives as “a time of your sojourning.” In the Acts of the Apostles, Luke will note that the name the first Christians gave to their community was “the people of the journey.” There is something compelling and comforting about this metaphor: our lives unfold as if on a journey, with some experiences we cannot foresee. We are not perfect. We haven’t “arrived” yet but are still on our way, experiencing both progress and setback…The beautiful final verse of the psalm expresses our hope: “You will show me the path to life, abounding joy in your presence, the delights at your right hand forever.”

2020 Reflections

CHICAGO CATHOLICFather Donald Senior, CP

THIS WEEK’S CATECHISM EXCERPTS

Visit Doctrinal Homily Outlines for further commentary and catechetical connections.

“By using the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the homilist can help his people integrate the word of God, the faith of the Church, the moral demands of the Gospel, and their personal and liturgical spirituality.”

From the Homiletic Directory
  • The Eucharist and the experience of the disciples at Emmaus
  • The apostles and disciples as witnesses of the Resurrection
  • Christ the key to interpreting all Scripture
  • Christ, our Advocate in heaven

The Eucharist and the experience of the disciples at Emmaus

The mass for all ages

1346 The liturgy of the Eucharist unfolds according to a fundamental structure which has been preserved throughout the centuries down to our own day. It displays two great parts that form a fundamental unity:
– the gathering, the liturgy of the Word, with readings, homily and general intercessions;
– the liturgy of the Eucharist, with the presentation of the bread and wine, the consecratory thanksgiving, and communion.

The liturgy of the Word and liturgy of the Eucharist together form “one single act of worship”;172 the Eucharistic table set for us is the table both of the Word of God and of the Body of the Lord.173

1347 Is this not the same movement as the Paschal meal of the risen Jesus with his disciples? Walking with them he explained the Scriptures to them; sitting with them at table “he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them.”174

The apostles and disciples as witnesses of the Resurrection

The appearances of the Risen One

642 Everything that happened during those Paschal days involves each of the apostles – and Peter in particular – in the building of the new era begun on Easter morning. As witnesses of the Risen One, they remain the foundation stones of his Church. The faith of the first community of believers is based on the witness of concrete men known to the Christians and for the most part still living among them. Peter and the Twelve are the primary “witnesses to his Resurrection”, but they are not the only ones – Paul speaks clearly of more than five hundred persons to whom Jesus appeared on a single occasion and also of James and of all the apostles.502

643 Given all these testimonies, Christ’s Resurrection cannot be interpreted as something outside the physical order, and it is impossible not to acknowledge it as an historical fact. It is clear from the facts that the disciples’ faith was drastically put to the test by their master’s Passion and death on the cross, which he had foretold.503 The shock provoked by the Passion was so great that at least some of the disciples did not at once believe in the news of the Resurrection. Far from showing us a community seized by a mystical exaltation, the Gospels present us with disciples demoralized (“looking sad”504) and frightened. For they had not believed the holy women returning from the tomb and had regarded their words as an “idle tale”.505 When Jesus reveals himself to the Eleven on Easter evening, “he upbraided them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen.”506

644 Even when faced with the reality of the risen Jesus the disciples are still doubtful, so impossible did the thing seem: they thought they were seeing a ghost. “In their joy they were still disbelieving and still wondering.”507 Thomas will also experience the test of doubt and St. Matthew relates that during the risen Lord’s last appearance in Galilee “some doubted.”508 Therefore the hypothesis that the Resurrection was produced by the apostles’ faith (or credulity) will not hold up. On the contrary their faith in the Resurrection was born, under the action of divine grace, from their direct experience of the reality of the risen Jesus.

The Church is apostolic

857 The Church is apostolic because she is founded on the apostles, in three ways:

– she was and remains built on “the foundation of the Apostles,”362 the witnesses chosen and sent on mission by Christ himself;363

– with the help of the Spirit dwelling in her, the Church keeps and hands on the teaching,364 the “good deposit,” the salutary words she has heard from the apostles;365

– she continues to be taught, sanctified, and guided by the apostles until Christ’s return, through their successors in pastoral office: the college of bishops, “assisted by priests, in union with the successor of Peter, the Church’s supreme pastor”:366

You are the eternal Shepherd
who never leaves his flock untended.
Through the apostles
you watch over us and protect us always.
You made them shepherds of the flock
to share in the work of your Son. . . .367

The progressive revelation of the Resurrection

995 To be a witness to Christ is to be a “witness to his Resurrection,” to “[have eaten and drunk] with him after he rose from the dead.”549 Encounters with the risen Christ characterize the Christian hope of resurrection. We shall rise like Christ, with him, and through him.

996 From the beginning, Christian faith in the resurrection has met with incomprehension and opposition.550 “On no point does the Christian faith encounter more opposition than on the resurrection of the body.”551 It is very commonly accepted that the life of the human person continues in a spiritual fashion after death. But how can we believe that this body, so clearly mortal, could rise to everlasting life?

Christ the key to interpreting all Scripture

Christ – the unique Word of Sacred Scripture

102 Through all the words of Sacred Scripture, God speaks only one single Word, his one Utterance in whom he expresses himself completely:64

You recall that one and the same Word of God extends throughout Scripture, that it is one and the same Utterance that resounds in the mouths of all the sacred writers, since he who was in the beginning God with God has no need of separate syllables; for he is not subject to time.65

“He died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures”

601 The Scriptures had foretold this divine plan of salvation through the putting to death of “the righteous one, my Servant” as a mystery of universal redemption, that is, as the ransom that would free men from the slavery of sin.397 Citing a confession of faith that he himself had “received”, St. Paul professes that “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures.”398 In particular Jesus’ redemptive death fulfills Isaiah’s prophecy of the suffering Servant.399 Indeed Jesus himself explained the meaning of his life and death in the light of God’s suffering Servant.400 After his Resurrection he gave this interpretation of the Scriptures to the disciples at Emmaus, and then to the apostles.401

At the heart of catechesis: Christ

426 “At the heart of catechesis we find, in essence, a Person, the Person of Jesus of Nazareth, the only Son from the Father. . .who suffered and died for us and who now, after rising, is living with us forever.”13 To catechize is “to reveal in the Person of Christ the whole of God’s eternal design reaching fulfillment in that Person. It is to seek to understand the meaning of Christ’s actions and words and of the signs worked by him.”‘14 Catechesis aims at putting “people . . . in communion . . . with Jesus Christ: only he can lead us to the love of the Father in the Spirit and make us share in the life of the Holy Trinity.”15

427 In catechesis “Christ, the Incarnate Word and Son of God,. . . is taught – everything else is taught with reference to him – and it is Christ alone who teaches – anyone else teaches to the extent that he is Christ’s spokesman, enabling Christ to teach with his lips. . . Every catechist should be able to apply to himself the mysterious words of Jesus: ‘My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me.'”16

428 Whoever is called “to teach Christ” must first seek “the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus”; he must suffer “the loss of all things. . .” in order to “gain Christ and be found in him”, and “to know him and the power of his resurrection, and [to] share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that if possible [he] may attain the resurrection from the dead”.17

429 From this loving knowledge of Christ springs the desire to proclaim him, to “evangelize”, and to lead others to the “yes” of faith in Jesus Christ. But at the same time the need to know this faith better makes itself felt. To this end, following the order of the Creed, Jesus’ principal titles – “Christ”, “Son of God”, and “Lord” (article 2) – will be presented. The Creed next confesses the chief mysteries of his life – those of his Incarnation (article 3), Paschal mystery (articles 4 and 5) and glorification (articles 6 and 7).

2763 All the Scriptures – the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms – are fulfilled in Christ.10 The Gospel is this “Good News.” Its first proclamation is summarized by St. Matthew in the Sermon on the Mount;11 the prayer to our Father is at the center of this proclamation. It is in this context that each petition bequeathed to us by the Lord is illuminated:

The Lord’s Prayer is the most perfect of prayers. . . . In it we ask, not only for all the things we can rightly desire, but also in the sequence that they should be desired. This prayer not only teaches us to ask for things, but also in what order we should desire them.12

Christ, our Advocate in heaven

Our communion in the mysteries of Jesus

519 All Christ’s riches “are for every individual and are everybody’s property.”187 Christ did not live his life for himself but for us, from his Incarnation “for us men and for our salvation” to his death “for our sins” and Resurrection “for our justification”.188 He is still “our advocate with the Father”, who “always lives to make intercession” for us.189 He remains ever “in the presence of God on our behalf, bringing before him all that he lived and suffered for us.”190

662 “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.”542 The lifting up of Jesus on the cross signifies and announces his lifting up by his Ascension into heaven, and indeed begins it. Jesus Christ, the one priest of the new and eternal Covenant, “entered, not into a sanctuary made by human hands. . . but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.”543 There Christ permanently exercises his priesthood, for he “always lives to make intercession” for “those who draw near to God through him”.544 As “high priest of the good things to come” he is the center and the principal actor of the liturgy that honors the Father in heaven.545

1137 The book of Revelation of St. John, read in the Church’s liturgy, first reveals to us, “A throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne”: “the Lord God.”1 It then shows the Lamb, “standing, as though it had been slain”: Christ crucified and risen, the one high priest of the true sanctuary, the same one “who offers and is offered, who gives and is given.”2 Finally it presents “the river of the water of life . . . flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb,” one of most beautiful symbols of the Holy Spirit.3


SOURCES/CREDITS:
Fr. Tobin Commentary Text: ©2019 Fr. Eamon Tobin, Commentaries & Faith Sharing PDF Handout. Images, videos, scripture verses, and other material which accompany Fr. Tobin’s text are curated by LectioTube.com. They do not necessarily reflect Fr. Tobin’s opinions or preferences. Excerpts from the Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America, second typical edition © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC. Used with permission.
Agape Bible Study excerpts by Michal E. Hunt are used with permission. In addition to the website’s 54 studies and hundreds of resources, their Facebook page has short lessons on the day’s Gospel reading.
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