RCIA has been my passion for 18 years or more and I have seen people’s relationships with the Lord grow through Breaking Open the Word that happened each Sunday Morning. People began to realize that at the Eucharistic Celebration the Lord feeds us with His Word, and with His Body and Blood. The Liturgy of the Word is an integral part of the Eucharist. In His Word he is speaking directly to us as individuals and as community. I have been asked to put up Breaking Open the Word reflections on the web by a number of people, as a way for people to enter into the Sunday and Feast day Readings, listening to the call of the Lord in their lives. To have it only as something one reads on the web limps a little because the communal aspect of Breaking Open the Word is missing. Maybe people can spontaneously get together and share the challenge of the Word in their lives. I firmly believe that the part of RCIA called Breaking Open the Word (BOW) is an activity that can be participated in by all yearning Catholics who wish to grow in their spiritual life, that is in their personal relationship with Jesus, and in their spiritual bond with fellow parishioners.
The ‘theme’ of any given Sunday’s Readings is a call of the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus promised to send to reveal the truth to us, to lead us, to guide us and to make known to us all that He teaches us. The Readings of the Church Year are not randomly chosen but are the gift of the Holy Spirit to his Church to nourish us in our daily journey with the Lord. BOW is a way to be prepared for the Liturgy so that we can better hear with our ears and receive with our hearts what the Lord is saying to his Church, his followers on this given Sunday.
On Sunday and everyday for that matter, we are invited to the Lamb’s Banquet. And at all good banquets the menu includes a good host, good company, good sharing, and good food, All banquets are communal and this is especially so at the Lamb’s Banquet! And we normally go to a banquet prepared, in anticipation of being nourished, filled not only in our bellies but in our very beings! Breaking Open the Word enables this total nourishment to happen.
If you cannot be part of a BOW group then maybe you could take what you find presented on this blog to coffee with a few friends, or to an evening conversation with your spouse and or family. Choose one evening a week before the coming Sunday. I promise you that you will be enriched in your faith! You will be enriched in your relationship with Jesus. Your spirituality will become central in your life. You will yearn to be at the Lamb’s Banquet – you will want to eat and drink all that he has to offer. You will hear his call to ‘come’, to ‘listen’, to:
“come to the water all you who are thirsty; though you have no money, come!
Come! Buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money, free!
Why spend money on what cannot nourish
and your wages on what fails to satisfy?
Listen carefully to me, and your will have good things to eat
rich food to enjoy!
Pay attention, come to me;
listen, and your will live!” (Isaiah 55:1-3)
Remember the promise of new growth that I made? Well Isaiah makes that promise further along in this passage:
“For as the rain and the snow come down from the sky
and do not return before having watered the earth,
fertilizing it and making it germinate
to provide seed for the sower and food to eat,
so it is with the word that goes from my mouth;
it will not return to me unfulfilled
or before having carried out my good pleasure
and having achieved what it was sent to do.”
The Word of the Lord at the Eucharistic Celebration is to be devoured by the ear (listening) and by the mouth, both ways being absorbed by our whole being. It is interesting to note that ‘ear’ is contained within ‘heart‘! And in Jeremiah the Lord says that “within them I shall plant my Law, writing it on their hearts.” (Jer.31:33)
So let us listen and hear his word within our hearts.