"Breaking Open the Word" :
James Cavanagh is the director of Evangelization and Catechesis for Metro-Area Parishes of the Denver Archdiocese. His weekly column, "Breaking Open the Word," is syndicated by the Denver Catholic Register, official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Denver. Click here to visit the Office of Evangelization & Catechesis for the Archdiocese of Denver.
May 8: Third Sunday of Easter
In this week’s first reading we hear Peter’s first public proclamation of the Gospel, which he delivered to a large crowd of pilgrims who had come to Jerusalem to celebrate Pentecost. Peter tells them that even though Christ had been crucified, it was impossible for death to hold him. He could not be held by death because he was one with the Father from all eternity.
When we invoke God as “Father” we are united with his Son who ransomed us from futility and death. Therefore, as Peter says in the second reading, we are to “conduct ourselves with reverence.” Because we “believe in God who raised (Jesus) from the dead” we are moved to conduct ourselves accordingly, as sons and daughters of God destined for eternity (see Wis 2:23).
This week’s Gospel is one of the most memorable accounts of the Resurrection. The road to Emmaus story reflects the pattern of Christian worship that’s defined the Church’s liturgy from the beginning. Having witnessed Jesus’ death two days before, the two disciples are inconsolable and unable to recognize Christ. They are gradually led to an awareness of the risen Lord as he “breaks open the word” to them, explaining how the Scriptures anticipated everything that had happened.
But it’s not until he breaks bread with them that their eyes are opened and they fully understand. The proclamation of the word is completed by the Eucharist. Together they constitute a single act of worship by which we, like the two disciples, come to recognize the risen Lord.
Catechism of the Catholic Church:
Pope Benedict XVI:
James Cavanagh is director of Evangelization and Catechesis for Metro-area Parishes of the Denver Archdiocese. Cavanagh’s column is distributed by the Denver Catholic Register.
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