Opening the Word

Opening the Word

3 Seasons

Welcome to Opening the Word, videos and guides offering prayer and insights for the Sunday Readings. Each reflection is lead by one of our experienced presenters including Dr. Tim Gray, Dr. Mary Healy, Dr. Scott Powell, Dr. Edward Sri, Fr. John Riley, Dr. Ben Akers, and Martha Fernandez. Opening the Word is designed to facilitate thought and discussion for personal faith formation or in the context of a group meeting, especially in RCIA.

To find the current week, visit https://bible.usccb.org/

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Opening the Word
  • Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord (Year A)

    We all are called to love God and do the Father's will, even when it is difficult. But love involves sacrifice—dying to self and making sacrifices for the one we love. We can use the example of Christ in the Garden to accept our crosses well.

  • Easter Sunday (Year A)

    Though the mysteries of the Faith are not readily understood, we should ask for the grace to believe—to grow in the virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity. With these gifts, we have the power to recognize the importance of the Resurrection, and how it can transform our lives.
    Alleluia, he is risen....

  • 2nd Sunday of Easter (Year A)

    The second Sunday after Easter is designated Divine Mercy Sunday. It's a recent feast in the Church, instituted in 2000 by Pope St. John Paul II. He felt that immediately after Easter, while the Paschal mysteries were fresh in our hearts, we needed an opportunity to reflect more deeply on God's g...

  • 4th Sunday of Easter (Year A)

    We like the idea of Jesus as the Good Shepherd, but we seldom like the idea of being sheep—people who blindly follow anyone or anything. However, that's not what sheep and shepherds are like in real life.

  • 5th Sunday of Easter (Year A)

    Episode 26

    Most of us have been either literally or figuratively lost at some time, not knowing which way to go, and feeling a surge of fear and panic. The Apostles in today's Gospel were feeling lost, because Jesus had just told them he was going to leave them in order to be crucified and die. Thomas said ...

  • 6th Sunday of Easter—May 17, 2020

    While our salvation was won by Jesus's Death, our lives in Christ are not completely fulfilled until we receive the Advocate, the Spirit of Truth, that Jesus promised to send us. That Spirit of Truth is the Third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. It is only through the Spirit that we are ab...

  • The Ascension of the Lord (Year A)

    Jesus returned to the right hand of the Father, not to leave us but to lead us all the way to heaven. The great paradox is because he has ascended, and he is able to remain with us in a profound new way.

  • 7th Sunday of Easter (Year A)

    In today's Gospel, a passage known as the High Priestly Prayer of Jesus in John 17, Jesus talks about the work the Father gave him to do. We might ask, "Exactly what is his work?" And many Christians probably would answer, "Dying on the Cross for the salvation of humanity." But as we unpack this ...

  • Pentecost Sunday (Year A)

    This week we celebrate Pentecost, the feast of the Church's birth. With a roaring of the heavens and in tongues of fire, the Holy Spirit comes and enlightens the Apostles. Peter begins to preach with boldness and authority what Christ's life and Death truly means. From that moment, the great miss...

  • The Most Holy Trinity Sunday (Year A)

    This week's readings highlight two of the key actions of God: first his love, and second, his giving. Through this we learn that love is an action, not a feeling, and that love is expressed in giving.

  • 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

    Jesus was very clear about the cost of discipleship. It might entail family division, persecution, and even death. He didn't mince words when he talked about the hardships his followers would face. And yet, at the same time he says, "Do not be afraid."
    Isn't this a bit of a contradiction? Does i...

  • 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

    If you ask people what they want, they'll often say that they want a new car, a better job, a bigger house, or some other possession. But if you probe a little deeper, you'll find that they don't really want possessions. Rather, they desire a sense of fulfillment, a feeling of being loved and che...

  • 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

    Sometimes we are tempted to think that it would be so much easier to believe in Jesus if we were living when he was on earth. Maybe ... but maybe not. Today's Gospel tells us that it has never been easy to understand all of Jesus's teachings, even for those who heard him in person.

  • 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

    When we hear the parable of the sower and seed, it can be easy to assume it is meant for someone else. After all, we are good soil, right?

  • 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

    This week we read three of Jesus's most famous parables: the sower and the seed, the mustard seed, and the yeast in the three measures of flour. What do all of these have in common? You might say they are stories about faith and how it grows and develops. This is correct, but they also have somet...

  • 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

    Today's Scriptures focus on comparing God's Word, law, commands, and will with earthly goods and riches. Psalm 119 tells us that while gold and silver are valuable, God's wisdom is even more valuable. The relative good of precious metals pales in comparison with the good to be found in God.

  • The Transfiguration of the Lord (Year A)

    Together all of these Scripture passages point toward the divinity of Jesus Christ, one of the most important points of our faith as Christians. This key doctrine is also a great mystery: How can Jesus be fully man? What does that mean? How well do we understand this claim? Can we explain it and ...

  • 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

    Have you ever been in a storm at sea? If you have, you know how terrifying it can be. Now imagine being in a storm in a small wooden boat ... and not knowing how to swim! This is the scene we have in today's Gospel.

  • 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

    Since many of us have had the experience of praying when it seems as if our prayers are battering against a brick wall, this Gospel story of the persistent woman serves to increase our faith in the love and mercy of the Lord for each one of us.

  • 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

    "Who do you say that I am?" That question, asked by Jesus to Simon Peter in today's Gospel, sets the stage for a key foundation of the Catholic Church. Once Simon states that Jesus is the Messiah, then Jesus blesses him, changes his name to Peter (which means rock), and says that he will build hi...

  • 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

    When the Word of God burns within us, it can be sweet, but sometimes it can be very difficult. If we are to faithfully pronounce that Word, we must be totally in love with the Lord, for it is only when we are enamored with God that we can do what St. Paul says: offer our entire lives as a sacrifi...

  • 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

    One of the great spiritual truths is that forgiveness is as much for ourselves as it is for the other person. If we do not forgive, we hold that person in bondage to their sin. And we hold ourselves in bondage both to the sin and the sinner as well.

  • 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

    Since most of us of us have trouble forgiving even once or twice, the standard set in today's Gospel is hard to comprehend. To help Peter, and us, understand that we are to forgive so much because we have been forgiven so much, Jesus tells the parable of the servant who owed a great debt to his m...

  • 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

    In the parable of the workers in the vineyard, we are confronted with what we might consider an unfair situation. The owner of the vineyard goes out and hires workers, starting in the early morning and ending close to sundown. But no matter what time of day the workers are hired, all get the same...