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.

Begin Advent 2020 with Year B reflections here:

Opening the Word
  • 1st Sunday of Advent—December 2, 2018

    Episode 1

    If the first Sunday of Advent marks the beginning of a new liturgical year, why does the Gospel focus on endings as it talks about the sun and moon darkening and the stars falling from the sky? We're supposed to be preparing to celebrate Jesus' birth as the Messiah, not hear about the end of the ...

  • 2nd Sunday of Advent—December 9, 2018

    Episode 2

    Any experienced driver knows that a road that zig-zags takes longer than a straight path to get to a destination. The same is true spiritually, as we see in today's reading. But the question is: why were the roads to God crooked in the first place?

  • 3rd Sunday of Advent—December 16, 2018

    Episode 3

    The Third Sunday of Advent is traditionally called Gaudete, or Rejoice, Sunday—and all of the readings for this week invite us to do just that. This first reading from the prophet Zephaniah opens with a threefold call to joy, "Shout for joy… sing joyfully…. Be glad and exult with al...

  • 4th Sunday of Advent—December 23, 2018

    Episode 4

    Many Catholics are familiar with the story of "the Visitation," when Mary and Elizabeth met. But many don't know why the scene of two expectant mothers greeting each other is so important. Apart from affirming Mary's miraculous pregnancy, the scene also shows Mary's service and humility as she tr...

  • The Holy Family—December 30, 2018

    Episode 5

    It's tempting to think that the Blessed Virgin was somehow different from the rest of us—that she knew exactly what would happen in her life and never had to work through difficult periods. Yet, she did. And in her, we see how certain trials in our lives fit perfectly within the bigger picture of...

  • The Epiphany of the Lord—January 6, 2019

    Episode 6

    On this day we encounter the Magi coming from the East to worship the baby Jesus. What were the Magi? And why did they travel so far to find the Child King? What did these "foreigners" see that eluded the leaders and people of Israel?

  • Baptism of the Lord—January 13, 2019

    Episode 7

    On this first Sunday of Ordinary Time, we recall the Baptism of the Lord. But, in addition to remembering this historical event, we also are asked to call to mind our own baptism. Why? Because our baptism isn't just an event from the past, but a present reality that impacts every aspect of our li...

  • 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time—January 20, 2019

    Episode 8

    Mary's words at the wedding feast at Cana - "Do whatever he tells you" - offers two examples of prompt obedience and Christian discipleship. May Mary's words encourage us to show our trust in Jesus by promptly obeying him in all things, filling our "jars to the brim" in whatever he may ask of us.

  • 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time—January 27, 2019

    Episode 9

    Luke's Gospel recounts the beginning of Jesus' public ministry as He returns "in the power of the Holy Spirit" to Nazareth and stands up in the synagogue to read from the prophet Isaiah. There Isaiah declares that the Spirit of the Lord has commissioned him to announce good news to the poor, news...

  • 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time—February 3, 2019

    Episode 10

    Jesus returns to his hometown of Nazareth to give a homily in the synagogue. At first, everyone is impressed. But then Jesus takes on the tone of a prophet and his hometown friends take offense, even inhibiting the ability of Jesus to effectively minister there. What lesson might we learn from th...

  • 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time—February 10, 2019

    Episode 11

    Simon Peter had been up all night fishing unsuccessfully, but Jesus tells him to go out and try one more time. It's easy to imagine how a seasoned fisherman like Simon Peter might resist the suggestion. But, in the end, he agrees. Perhaps he didn't expect to catch anything. So we can imagine his ...

  • 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time—February 17, 2019

    Episode 12

    Imagine yourself sitting at the feet of Jesus when he gave the Beatitudes. Hear him say that the rich and satisfied will be unhappy. Hear him offer a path of true happiness through humble obedience and faith. Do you accept this humble path?

  • 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time—February 24, 2019

    Episode 13

    Take a moment now and close your eyes. Imagine that you are with the disciples as Jesus begins to talk. You hear him say, "To the person who strikes you on one cheek, offer the other one as well, and from the person who takes your cloak, do not withhold even your tunic. Give to everyone who asks ...

  • 8th Sunday in Ordinary Time—March 3, 2019

    Episode 14

    Imagine that you and Jesus are standing in today's Gospel reading under a fruit tree, loaded with ripening fruit. Jesus points to the fruit and says, "A good tree does not bear rotten fruit . . .every tree is known by its fruit." In prayer, ask Jesus to show you areas where you are not bearing go...

  • 2nd Sunday of Lent—March 17, 2019

    Episode 15

    What an amazing experience it must have been for Peter, James and John to witness an event few humans can imagine – the glory of Jesus! And yet we experience a similar miracle at every Mass as the glory of Jesus is shown to us in the Eucharist. The three Apostles didn't take their experience for ...

  • 3rd Sunday of Lent—March 24, 2019

    Episode 16

    At this midway point in our Lenten journey, today's readings show us the Exodus, the great journey of the Jewish people out of Egypt. What are we to think of this amazing drama as Moses defied the King of Egypt, risking everything to obey God and lead His people out of their slavery?

  • 5th Sunday of Lent—April 7, 2019

    Episode 17

    Today's reading from the Gospel of John tells of a woman who was caught in the sin of adultery, and then caught again--but this time in God's mercy and love. The account provides not only a striking example of Jesus' mercy, but also his call to conversion. He offers forgiveness and healing and a ...

  • Palm Sunday—April 14, 2019

    Episode 18

    The readings for Palm, or Passion, Sunday are the most dramatic of the whole year. They recount the entire story of Christ's death from Holy Thursday through Good Friday. One of the unusual aspects of this week's Gospel reading is that it is the one time during the year when all of us take part i...

  • Easter Sunday—April 21, 2019

    Episode 19

    Today we celebrate the greatest of all Christian feasts: Easter Sunday. We come together rejoicing in the goodness of God, knowing that Christ's resurrection from the dead gives us the hope that we too will rise someday with him.

  • 2nd Sunday of Easter Divine Mercy Sunday—April 28, 2019

    Episode 20

    There are two sides to Christ's love. On one side He mercifully loves us wherever he finds us, even in our sin. On the other side, we see that he loves us too much to leave us in that condition, but draws us out to be transformed.

  • 3rd Sunday of Easter—May 5, 2019

    Episode 21

    Just as Peter denied Jesus three times, now the risen Lord asks Peter three times, "Do you love me?"

  • 4th Sunday of Easter—May 12, 2019

    Episode 22

    Have you ever watched a herd of animals as they journey toward a destination? It's remarkable that their every move seems to be in sync with the entire group. Nature itself shows us that uniting together in community – as one body – is the way God intended us to behave.

  • 5th Sunday of Easter—May 19, 2019

    Episode 23

    Today's readings focuses on embracing the crosses that God allows into our lives, even while our human nature resists that kind of suffering. We avoid it and anxiously try to change situations that are unpleasant. Yet Jesus Himself modeled for us the transformation and redemption that comes from ...

  • 6th Sunday of Easter—May 26, 2019

    Episode 24

    The readings for the Easter season harken to the first days of Christianity, allowing us to walk in the footsteps of the first Christians as they attempted to follow Christ as part of the young Church.