Aperuit Illis 1: Emmaus Begins Our Journey

I think this document was something of a surprise. The title, “Aperuit Illis” comes from the first two words of the Latin text of this apostolic letter (known in Latin as motu proprio). For more clarity, consider the subtitle, “Instituting the Sunday of the Word of God.”

Pope Francis begins with the Emmaus account: Jesus setting fire to hearts by opening their minds to the Scriptural tradition of Judaism. The travelers of Luke 24:13-15 were at a low point, discouraged beyond belief. Are we to that point today? Perhaps not all of us, not yet.

1. “He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures” (Lk 24:45).  This was one of the final acts of the risen Lord before his Ascension.  Jesus appeared to the assembled disciples, broke bread with them and opened their minds to the understanding of the sacred Scriptures. To them, amid their fear and bewilderment, he unveiled the meaning of the paschal mystery: that in accordance with the Father’s eternal plan he had to suffer and rise from the dead, in order to bring repentance and the forgiveness of sins (cf. Lk 24:26.46-47). He then promised to send the Holy Spirit, who would give them strength to be witnesses of this saving mystery (cf. Lk 24:49).

Every Christian is linked to the Word of God. Some of us are more aware than others. But without the Word, we have no voice to call ourselves disciples, Christians, even believers. Saint Jerome reminds us:

The relationship between the Risen Lord, the community of believers and sacred Scripture is essential to our identity as Christians. Without the Lord who opens our minds to them, it is impossible to understand the Scriptures in depth. Yet the contrary is equally true: without the Scriptures, the events of the mission of Jesus and of his Church in this world would remain incomprehensible. Hence, Saint Jerome could rightly claim: “Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ” (Commentary on the Book of Isaiah, Prologue: PL 24,17B).


The full document can be found here. The text above is © Copyright – Libreria Editrice Vaticana

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Aperuit Illis, Scripture. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Aperuit Illis 1: Emmaus Begins Our Journey

  1. Colleen McCahill says:

    Dear Catholic Sensibility,
    I suppose you’ve read further and have realized that the Scripture from which the letter takes its title is not the Emmaus story, but the one immediately following it. This is of course in some ways a minor distinction and in other ways a critical one. :~)
    Peace –

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