Thursday, May 1, 2014

“Were not our hearts burning within us"

Last Sunday's Gospel was the Gospel of Doubting Thomas. This Sunday's Gospel is the Gospel of the Confused Disciples. Luke's story of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus focuses on the interpretation of scripture by the risen Jesus and the recognition of him in the breaking of the bread. Our Discussion Questions will guide your Sunday Bible Study sessions with family, friends and church groups.

Scared and Confused

Fr. Orlando Sapuay, M.S. explains the the heart of the scared disciples' confusion. Cleopas and his companion thought Jesus' death had brought an end to the redemption of Israel. As far as they were concerned, the shame and death of the cross was not compatible with their understanding of Israel's Redeemer. Fr. Alex McAllister SDS clarifies the fact that they were headed to Emmaus because they were actually walking away.

Just like these disciples, we may also not know why things have happened, or even what things have happened. We may not know the best course for us to take in this or that situation. But Fr. Joseph Pellegrino says we do know that if we stay united to the Lord in Word and Sacrament, we will never go wrong. We can be at peace because we have our anchor, Sacred Scripture, and our joy, the Presence of the Lord in the Eucharist. Fr. John Foley, S. J. says Jesus is telling us in this story that there actually is a way for the human heart to say Yes to God and mean it.

In Light of Scriptures and the Eucharist

The stranger on the road to Emmaus takes the skepticism and curiosity of the disciples and weaves them into the fabric of the Scripture. Jesus challenges them to reinterpret the events of the past days in light of the Scriptures. During the meal He recreated the Last Supper. He took bread, blessed it and gave it to them. And they recognized Him in the breaking of the break, the first Christian name for the Eucharist.

Understanding the resurrection therefore implies a two-fold process of knowing the message of the Scriptures and experiencing the one about whom they all speak: Jesus the Lord, through the breaking and sharing of bread with the community of believers. The Eucharist is therefore the Easter Sacrament. Father Cusick tells in that in the Eucharist we meet, know and possess God incarnate, our Lord Jesus Christ. And to be an Easter people means to be a Eucharistic people. Marcellino D'Ambrosio points out that Jesus did not just rise from the dead 2000 years ago. He is risen, and He still is Emmanuel, God with us.

The Transmission of Faith Is a Communal, Ecclesial Event

This gospel of the encounter of the two disciples with Jesus on the road to Emmaus and in the breaking of the bread is a story of friendship. Fr. Campion P. Gavaler, O.S.B explains how Luke describes an intimate, personal encounter marked by tenderness and hospitality. Fr. James Gilhooley says Luke is also telling us that the Resurrection is news that must be told immediately to everyone. So, when people stop you today and ask what's new, advise them Jesus has risen just as He said.

Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB points out that understanding the Resurrection therefore implies a two-fold process of knowing the message of the Scriptures and experiencing the one about whom they all speak: Jesus the Lord, through the breaking and sharing of bread with the community of believers. This community today is our local parish, a cell of the Body of Christ. We have the same DNA, the same identity, as every other part of Jesus' Body - and our health boosts the health of the entire Body. Fr. Phil Bloom explains that we see that in today's Readings.

The Biblical Mass, the Church & the Crusades

Many Catholics might not realize just how much an hour at church on Sunday mornings puts them in contact with the Bible. The author of "Finding Scripture in the New Translation" explains that in addition to the readings and psalm, "practically everything in the liturgy has some roots in Scripture.” His scholarly book point out these connections as a biblical walk through the Mass.

Then we bring you two interesting piece about the Church history. The first is about the Crusades, typically depicted in modern discussion as a deplorably violent episode in which thuggish Westerners trundled off, unprovoked, to murder and pillage peace-loving, sophisticated Muslims. But what everyone “knows” about the Crusades may not, in fact, be true. From the many popular notions about the crusades, we pick four and see if they bear close examination. Then Catholic blogger and historian answers the basic question why he is Catholic. And he says it's "Because of Church History, Not In Spite of It."

Prayer & Technology

More on prayer, Mary Beth Bonacci talks about how she hates to admit her life-long struggle with praying the Rosary. Lately, however, she says she has fallen in love with the Rosary again. And she says it's all about "getting lost with Mary." Read her explanation so your rosary prayer devotion might also be rekindled.  Judith Costello blogs about how our society has made technology into a god and how this makes us susceptible to the violation of the First Commandment.
Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

BURNING QUESTION: Is the Mass a Eucharistic Banquet or a Holy Sacrifice?
FEATURED BLOG: I have fallen in love with the Rosary again
PASTORAL HISPANA: El camino de Emaus

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