Video Lessons on the “four pillars” of the Catechism
Acts 2:14, 22-23
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.
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!”
Ps 16:1-2, 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11
Lord, you will show us the path of life
RESPONSORIAL PSALM—This psalm expresses confidence and trust in God.
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
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.
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.
Jesus’ appearance on the road to Emmaus
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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
“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
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 RESOURCES – Joan DeMerchant
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 WORD – Fr. George Sigma
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.
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 CARMELITES – Lectio Divina: Sundays of Lent
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 REPORTER – Mary M. McGlone, CSJ
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 MAGAZINE – Jamie Waters
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 SITE – Father John Kavanaugh, SJ
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.”
CHICAGO CATHOLIC – Father Donald Senior, CP
THIS WEEK’S CATECHISM EXCERPTS
“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