The Resurrection is such a huge event, it takes a lot to unpack and understand it. We continue this task by hearing stories about how the Apostles and disciples managed it. Our Gospel this week reminds us that the best way to process it is by celebrating the Eucharist—by hearing the stories retold and breaking bread together.
by Jen Schlameuss-Perry
Acts 2:14, 22-33
God raised this Jesus; of this we are all witnesses.
Lord, you will show us the path of life.
1 Peter 1:17-21
Conduct yourselves with reverence during the time of your sojourning
he was made known to them in the breaking of bread.
You can read the full text of this Sunday’s readings here:
We know from the Gospel readings that there was a good amount of confusion, disbelief, and surprise after Jesus died and rose. It’s kind of funny, really, that the Apostles were so flabbergasted by it since Jesus went out of his way to tell them repeatedly that he would have to suffer, die and rise in order to complete his mission. We know they heard him say it–Peter got in trouble for suggesting Jesus avoid it, James and John got in trouble for requesting seats of honor with Jesus when it came to be. And yet, when it came down to it, everyone apparently forgot and freaked out. The disciples on the road to Emmaus said to Jesus while walking and chatting, “But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel;” almost as if they had nearly given up hope, except that the women (who were not considered legitimate witnesses) said that Jesus wasn’t in the tomb and that they saw it empty themselves. They were “conversing and debating” what happened.
It’s not until Jesus, whom they didn’t recognize, explained the Scriptures to them and then broke bread, saying the blessing, that they realized he was alive and was with them the whole time. But, this is the point–everything Jesus said and did when he was alive could not be fully understood until he had died and risen and freed us from sin and death. It was the completion of that mission that put everything else into focus. And it was the completion of that mission that gave the Eucharist it’s full context. It wasn’t just the Passover meal anymore, it was our sharing in his death and resurrection. It was our physical connection with him. It was to be the way that we would come to know Jesus after hearing the Scriptures explained.
Did you make your First Communion yet? If you didn’t, what are you most looking forward to about it? If you did, what’s the best thing about it? What do you hope receiving Communion often will do for you?
Have you ever had an experience like the disciples had when their hearts were burning within them? Not like heartburn, but like you were hearing something that made such complete sense to you and kickstarted your imagination, and got you excited about it? If so, what was that thing? Who was the speaker who made you feel that way? What did it inspire you to do? Do you think that that could have been God speaking to you through that situation?
Do you remember a time, or the most significant time, that the faith “clicked” with you; that it (or an aspect of it) suddenly made sense? What was the catalyst for your epiphany? What makes the faith “click” for you now?
A little lectio
The ancient practice of prayerfully reflecting on bits of Scripture is known as lectio divina. Want to try it out with your family? Head over to Lectio Divina for Kids to find out how to adapt this prayer practice for your kids.
A little Bible study
Want to do a little Bible study with your kids? Here are some tips:
- During Ordinary Time, the Church pairs the Old Testament and New Testament readings in a way that each sheds light on the other. Ask your kids to look for the common theme connecting the two readings. (Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it is subtle.) How does the “dialogue” between the readings help you understand them better?
- Get a New American Bible, Revised Edition, and take a look at the footnotes for these readings. How do they change your understanding of what is going on?
- Take a look at the context for the readings—what happens before, or after?
- Read the NABRE’s introduction to the book of the Bible that the readings are taken from. How does that help you understand the readings?
- If you don’t have a copy of the NABRE at home, you can view it online at the USCCB website at the Daily Readings web page. (The link will take you to today’s reading; click forward or backward on the dates to get to Sunday’s readings.)
For even more resources for breaking open this Sunday’s readings, head over to The Sunday Website.
The image for Breaking Open the Word at Home is taken from a 17th century illuminated manuscript by an anonymous (but very talented) artist. The text is from the beginning of the Book of Sirach, chapter 1, verses 1-12, which begins: “All wisdom is from the Lord and remains with him forever.”