Skip to comments.CNA unveils resource to help Catholics understand the Scriptures
Posted on 11/19/2008 4:02:45 PM PST by NYer
.- To kick off the new Liturgical Year beginning on November 30, Catholic News Agency is pleased to announce the addition of a new column, Road to Emmaus. The column, written by Brian Pizzalato, will assist in helping readers come to a deeper understanding of the Sunday readings.
Pizzalato, the Director of Catechesis, RCIA & Lay Apostolate for the Diocese of Duluth, Minnesota, is also a faculty member of the Philosophy department of the Maryvale Institute, Birmingham, England. His column will publish each week, giving readers the opportunity to see the relationship in between the Old Testament and Gospel readings.
Unfortunately, we can tend to tune out when the Old Testament is read at Mass, Pizzalato explains. However, if we really want to understand Christ in the New Testament, we cannot afford to tune out. Jesus longs for us to in some way experience that spiritual heartburn of the two disciples as they walked on the Road to Emmaus. And I dont know about you, but pretty frequently I too am foolish and slow of heart to believe.
Pizzalatos column will be updated each Wednesday, with information relating to the approaching Sundays readings.
Each week we will journey on the road to Emmaus, opening up the scriptures, having our hearts burn within us, so that we might always recognize Jesus in the Eucharist, recognize that he is truly Emmanuel, God with us, and finally to proclaim this good news to the world, Pizzalato said.
The first column for Road to Emmaus can be found on the left-hand side of CNAs homepage or by clicking on the following link: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/columns.php?sub_id=15
On the road to Emmaus
On the very day of the glorious Resurrection of Jesus from the dead, two disciples embarked on a seven mile journey from Jerusalem to Emmaus discussing what had just taken place in Jerusalem. (cf. Lk. 24:13-35)
Along the road they discuss Jesus trials before the various authorities, his great sufferings at the hands of the Romans, his humiliating death by crucifixion, and they are aware that the tomb is empty. Yet they are downcast, sad, depressed, hopeless, they did not believe the good news professed to them.
As they are conversing and debating, "Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him" (Lk. 24:16). Jesus, pleading ignorance, asks them what they are discussing. They then tell him about what just happened to him, and their hope that he, Jesus, would redeem Israel.
Jesus responds with seemingly harsh words, "Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that they prophets spoke! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and enter into his glory?" (Lk. 24:25-26).
With this said Jesus begins to give them what has to be considered the best Bible study in history. "Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the scriptures" (Lk. 24:27). Here we have the eternal Word of God interpreting the Word of God.
As they approached Emmaus they think Jesus means to go on further, but something deep in their hearts urges them to invite him to, "Stay with us So he went in to stay with them" (Lk. 24:29).
Jesus then sits at table with them, takes bread and blesses, breaks and gives it to them. At that very moment the eyes that were prevented from seeing him earlier are now opened and they recognize that it is the risen Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus mysteriously vanishes from their sight and they proclaim to one another, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?" (Lk. 24:32).
Emmaus and the Mass
Each Sunday in the Mass we as Catholics journey "on the road to Emmaus," and when we arrive at Emmaus Jesus comes to stay with us. The scriptures are opened up for us in the Liturgy of the Word. Here we are on the road. This prepares us for our arrival at Emmaus, for the taking, blessing, breaking and giving of the bread, i.e., the Liturgy of the Eucharist. What we read about in Luke 24:13-35 is a paradigm for the structure of the Mass.
We must remember that the whole of Sacred Scripture is ultimately about Christ, "Through all the words of Sacred Scripture, God speaks only one single Word [Jesus], his Utterance in whom he expresses himself completely" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 102).
We also must remember that Jesus has revealed to us that the sacred mystery given to the disciples involves no common bread. It is Jesus himself who said, "I am the bread of life " (Jn. 6:35). He is the "bread come down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die" (Jn. 6:50). And the bread that he gives is, "my flesh My flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink" (Jn. 6:51; 55).
After Mass, we are also called to respond as the two disciples did. How did they respond after the recognition of Jesus and the proclamation that their hearts burned with them? "And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem they told what happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread" (Lk. 24:33; 35). At the end of Mass we are told to "go" to love and serve the Lord. We are sent forth to live out the reality of what we have just experienced and proclaim it to others. The very word Mass comes from the Latin word, missa, which is where we also get the word mission.
What to expect
In this column I would like to help you in your preparation for the Sunday readings at Mass. Each week I will comment upon, in particular, the relationship between the Old Testament reading and the Gospel reading, which is precisely what Christ did for the two disciples. We must remember when it is said that he opened the scriptures this is referring to the Old Testament. Jesus interprets Moses, the prophets and all the Old Testament as somehow being fulfilled in his person, life and work.
Unfortunately, we can tend to tune out when the Old Testament is read at Mass. However, if we really want to understand Christ in the New Testament, we cannot afford to tune out. Jesus longs for us to in some way experience that spiritual heartburn of the two disciples. And I dont know about you, but pretty frequently I too am foolish and slow of heart to believe.
It is also the case that there is a purpose behind the choice of the Old Testament reading and the Gospel reading for each Sunday. This is made clear in the "Introduction" to the Lectionary. It states, "The present Order of Readings selects Old Testament texts mainly because of their correlation with New Testament texts read in the same Mass, and particularly with the Gospel text
the Old Testament reading is harmonized with the Gospel" (#67).
As you are probably aware the Sunday readings are broken up into a three year cycle. Cycle A features the Gospel of Matthew. Cycle B features the Gospel of Mark. Cycle C features the Gospel of Luke. The Gospel of John is interspersed throughout all three years. Old Testament texts are correlated with the Gospel passages selected for Sundays to show forth the unity of Gods salvific plan.
Approaching Scripture in this way, as we have seen, goes all the back to Jesus, so we do well to imitate this. In doing so we will discover what became clear to St. Augustine, "The New Testament lies hidden in the Old and the Old Testament is unveiled in the New" (CCC, 129).
To give but one example of what we can expect to see, please consider the following parallels between the Passover of Exodus 12 and the institution of the Eucharist and Jesus sacrifice on Calvary:
1. The Passover involved a male unblemished lamb, Jesus is the sinless Lamb of God and our Paschal sacrifice (cf. Ex. 12:5; Jn. 1:29; 1 Cor. 5:7; 1 Pet. 1:19).
2. Not a bone of the lamb, or Jesus, shall be broken (Ex. 12:46; Jn. 19:36).
3. Both sacrificed and brought about salvation.
4. Both pour forth their blood (Ex. 12:7; Jn. 19:34).
5. Both involve a hyssop branch (Ex. 12:22; Jn. 19:29).
6. Both must be eaten (Ex. 12:4, 7-8, 11, 16; Lk. 22:19-20; Jn. 6:53-56).
7. The Eucharist is instituted during the Passover (Lk. 22:1).
8. The Passover and the Eucharist involve flesh and bread (Ex. 12:8; Lk. 22:19-20; Jn. 6:4, 25-71).
We will begin these reflections on the readings with the First Sunday of Advent, November 30, 2008, kicking off this new column with the new liturgical year which features the Gospel of Mark (Cycle B). I also encourage you to read the Gospel of Mark by way of preparation for the liturgical year in order to get a sense of the big picture of Marks Gospel.
Each week we will journey "on the road to Emmaus," opening up the scriptures, having our hearts burn within us, so that we might always recognize Jesus in the Eucharist, recognize that he is truly Emmanuel, God with us, and finally to proclaim this good news to the world.
* Brian Pizzalato is the Director of Catechesis, R.C.I.A. & Lay Apostolate for the Diocese of Duluth. He is also a faculty member of the Philosophy department of the Maryvale Institute, Birmingham, England. Brian is a regular columnist for CNA. He also writes a monthly catechetical article for The Northern Cross, of the Diocese of Duluth, and is a contributing author to the Association for Catechumenal Ministry's R.C.I.A. Participants Book.
Brian is currently authoring the regular series, "Catechesis and Contemporary Culture," in The Sower, published by the Maryvale Institute and is also in the process of writing the Philosophy of Religion course book for the B.A. in Philosophy and the Catholic Tradition program at the Maryvale Institute.
Brian holds an M.A. in Theology and Christian Ministry with a Catechetics specialization and an M.A. in Philosophy from Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio.
Ping for later read. Thanks NYer.
I wish these columns were a few days sooner than Wednesday.Our bible group goes over the readings on Monday for the following Sunday.We are always looking for helpful commentaries on the following Sunday’s three readings.
ROTFL! You just can't make this stuff up! Jesus wants to give you gas!?!
Allow me to unveil the new mascot of the Protestant Reformation:
I thought this was a thread about Catholics, not Mormons...
When you think about it, it's more a thread about Christians. That includes ALL who profess Christ as their Savior.
And, of course, you know the quote,"Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?" (Lk. 24:32).
That type of heart burn has nothing to do with digestive troubles.
Sometimes people attack just to attack, not to show their lack of intelligence or charity, even though that is sometimes the result.
LOL!!! I suppose if you put a beard on him and dim the lights down, he does look like Calvin.
Don’t be so sure they are aware of the fullness of Holy Scripture. They tend to select, and then mangle, only a few verses of a redacted Bible to support their hatred and malice toward Christ’s Church.
Since Brian Pizzalato's stated goal is to give his readers "spiritual heartburn", I suggest that he just skip writing the column and redirect his readers to the Create Burps Online website instead!
Beginning Catholic: When Was The Bible Written? [Ecumenical]
The Complete Bible: Why Catholics Have Seven More Books [Ecumenical]
U.S. among most Bible-literate nations: poll
Bible Lovers Not Defined by Denomination, Politics
Dei Verbum (Catholics and the Bible)
Vatican Offers Rich Online Source of Bible Commentary
Clergy Congregation Takes Bible Online
Knowing Mary Through the Bible: Mary's Last Words
A Bible Teaser For You... (for everyone :-)
Knowing Mary Through the Bible: New Wine, New Eve
Return of Devil's Bible to Prague draws crowds
Doctrinal Concordance of the Bible [What Catholics Believe from the Bible] Catholic Caucus
Should We Take the Bible Literally or Figuratively?
Glimpsing Words, Practices, or Beliefs Unique to Catholicism [Bible Trivia]
Catholic and Protestant Bibles: What is the Difference?
Looks like these will come in handy!
I think the author was linking the Old Testament references with happenings in the New Testament.
I know you have heard of this — typology.
I figure this is as good a thread as any to ask: what is a good Catholic Bible to purchase in terms of faithful translation and useful notes? I have the St Joseph’s but wish the notes were more helpful.
This question is often raised on various EWTN programs. Perhaps the following article will prove helpful.
That may be but one would think that he would use the Old Testament.
I thought this was a thread about Catholics, not Mormons...
It seems to me that you are, again, making what you think are demeaning remarks about those who do not think like you.