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
  • 7th Sunday of Easter (Year C)

    Episode 1

    Place yourself in today's Gospel reading, and imagine being in the room with Jesus and his disciples at the Last Supper. Jesus sits up and begins to talk. Listen attentively to his prayer to the Heavenly Father.

  • Pentecost Sunday (Year C)

    Episode 2

    In the last night of his life, Jesus prayed specifically for his followers to have unity. He said that, through unity, the disciples would bear a powerful witness to his name. Why, on the darkest night of his life, was he thinking about that? The answer is seen in his example: in unity, there is ...

  • Trinity Sunday (Year C)

    Episode 3

    In today's Gospel reading, we see that God's very life is one of communion. In the Trinity, we see a relationship of giving and receiving, a communion of life and love. God exists as a relationship of Persons. He is Three, and yet the "Lord God is One." How are we to bring this kind of Oneness — ...

  • The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Year C)

    Episode 4

    The miracle of multiplying five loaves of bread and two pieces of fish to feed five thousand men (and as many as fifteen to twenty thousand people) is one of the most famous in the Gospels. Apart from providing for the physical needs of those present, Jesus also foreshadows the Holy Eucharist. He...

  • 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

    Episode 5

    Here we read a shocking account of a woman wrecking a dinner party to show her love to Jesus. To the host and other guests, it was a moment of awkwardness, embarrassment, and completely inappropriate. Yet Jesus affirmed this woman and, if nothing else, shows us that great love is based on great h...

  • 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

    Episode 6

    Jesus seeks from the disciples an answer to who he is. First, what are the people saying? Then he wants to know what they think. The answers are a lesson for us to double-check our assumptions about who we think Jesus is--a prophet? A good teacher? A wise man?—against the reality—the Son of the L...

  • 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

    Episode 7

    In this Gospel reading, we see Jesus embarking on the most difficult journey of his life. For ten chapters in Luke's Gospel, beginning with chapter 9, Jesus and his disciples are on the road, making their way to the climactic moment in Salvation History. Knowing what He would suffer, Jesus still ...

  • 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

    Episode 8

    Evangelization is not a job assigned only to bishops, priests, and religious brothers and sisters. Pope Paul VI insisted that the "task of evangelizing all people constitutes the essential mission of the Church." And by "the Church," he meant the Church as a whole—everyone, including the laity. T...

  • 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

    Episode 9

    Jesus parable of the Good Samaritan is well-known and often quoted. Yet we often miss how Jesus uses the question "Who is my neighbor?" to upend a rigid and impersonal view of the "Law" of the Jewish people. Through an unlikely her--a member of the Samaritans, who were disdained by the Jews--we s...

  • 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

    Episode 10

    This Gospel reading challenges us to remember that being busy for the Lord is not the same as being with him, to sit at his feet and hear him in our hearts. Truly that is the "better part."

  • 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

    Episode 11

    Though we often take the "Our Father" for granted, it is good to remember how remarkable and radical it was for Jesus to begin the prayer not with "Almighty God" or "Mighty King" but with the most personal and intimate name: our Father. Through those words we are invited into a relationship as on...

  • 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

    Episode 12

    The Old Testament reading reminds us that we can spend our whole lives acquiring things but, in the end, all of our possessions will go to those who haven't worked for them. This sets us up for the Gospel reading, as Jesus addresses a man who wants him to settle a dispute about an inheritance. As...

  • 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

    Episode 13

    "For where your treasure is, there also your heart will be." These words of Jesus challenge us to ask ourselves about our real priorities in life. What is most important? One look at how we use our time or spend our money will tells us what is truly important. Then comes the bigger question: do o...

  • 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

    Episode 14

    Today's Gospel reading may surprise us. Jesus' words don't seem to fit the peaceful forgive-your-enemies-and-turn-the-other-cheek image of Jesus we might have. In fact, he says quite explicitly that he didn't come to establish peace, but rather, division. What do you think Jesus means by this?

  • 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

    Episode 15

    Many of us know the sinking feeling we get when we approach an airline gate, see the closed door, and realize we've missed our flight. Today's Gospel reading takes that one step further and asks us to contemplate what it would be like to miss out on heaven, seeing that door shut to us forever. "T...

  • 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

    Episode 16

    It's human nature for us to want places of honor. Yet Jesus challenges us to do the opposite: to seek the "lowest place." While many in the world compete for worldly prestige and honor, Jesus is asking Christians to outdo one another in the practice of true humility.

  • 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

    Episode 17

    What are you willing to give up to follow Jesus? That's the question in today's Gospel. Jesus proclaims that no one is worthy to be called His disciple unless he "hates" those people dearest to him, or renounces his possessions, takes up his cross and follows Jesus to wherever He leads (and if on...

  • 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

    Episode 18

    Do you remember a time when you lost something, perhaps a much-valued possession? When we lose something of high value, we search and search until we finally find it. And the discovery brings such a sense of relief. The greater the value of what was lost, the more we rejoice in finding it. In thi...

  • 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

    Episode 19

    Many people find today's Gospel passage a little confusing. It tells the story of the dishonest steward who shrewdly foregoes his commission on his master's loans in order to gain favor among those who may be of help to him in the future. While Jesus is not commending dishonesty, he is challengin...

  • 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

    Episode 20

    Here Jesus tells the story of a rich man who feasted every single day while a beggar named Lazarus starved to death outside of the gates of the rich man's house. The poor man ends up in the bosom of Abraham while the rich man ends up in Hades. There is a double lesson here about how we use our ti...

  • 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

    Episode 21

    The underlying theme to all three readings this week is faith. The prophet Habakkuk cries out to God with a question common to every human heart: Why does God allow evil to persist in the world? As you read these three passages, consider how God doesn't answer the question--and how he does. Ultim...

  • 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

    Episode 22

    "Have an attitude of gratitude" is one of those catchphrases fit for bumper stickers and children's books. Yet, for Christians, this is more than a catchphrase. It is a basic command of Christian life. Notice in today's Gospel reading the ten lepers who were healed by Jesus. All ten turned to Jes...

  • 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

    Episode 23

    Persistence in prayer is a theme Jesus returns to again and again. In today's Gospel reading we hear about a widow keeps coming back to the judge to demand justice. Finally, because of her persistence, the judge gives in to her demand. More than a lesson about nagging, this is a lesson the echoes...

  • 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

    Episode 24

    Our modern culture frowns upon weakness and vulnerability. The world tells us that to get ahead we must be strong, competent, and self-sufficient. This view is in stark contrast to our readings today, which calls us to embrace our weakness, recognize our inherent poverty, and allow God to transfo...