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Thursday, May 14, 1998

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St. Matthias

Acts 1:15-17, 20-26
Psalm 113
John 15:9-17

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"the spirit and the bride" (rv 22:17)

"The saying in Scripture uttered long ago by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of David was destined to be fulfilled in Judas." —Acts 1:16

While the Church, about to be born at Pentecost, was praying in the upper room (see Acts 1:14), Peter stood up and quoted two obscure sentences from the Psalms (Acts 1:20). The first one, Psalm 69:26, if applied to Judas Iscariot's apostleship, sounded as if no one should take Judas' place, although the quote was probably applied to the field in which Judas died. The second quote, Psalm 109:8, if applied to Judas, seems to call for apostolic succession. The apostles accepted Peter's prophetic interpretation of these two Scripture passages. Thus, we have the first apostolic succession. This is the only way by which we can objectively determine whether a group which calls itself a "church" is truly the Church founded by Jesus. Thus, Peter's primacy, his leadership of the apostles, and apostolic succession were already beginning to be established in the Church in the womb of the upper room before the Church was born at Pentecost.

The Holy Spirit and the Church, especially the hierarchical aspects of the Church, go together. The coming of the Holy Spirit and the birthday of the Church were simultaneous. The Spirit and the Bride of Christ, the Church, both say the same thing (see Rv 22:17). The Spirit is Truth (1 Jn 5:6), and the Church is the pillar and bulwark of truth (1 Tm 3:15). If we are in the Spirit, we must be in the Church in a deep way.

Prayer:  Holy Spirit, produce in me Your fruit of love (Gal 5:22), especially love for the Church (see Eph 5:25).

Promise:  "It was not you who chose Me, it was I Who chose you to go forth and bear fruit. Your fruit must endure." —Jn 15:16

Praise:  Matthias rejoiced when he was whipped as punishment for teaching about Jesus (Acts 5:40). He responded by continually "teaching and proclaiming the good news of Jesus the Messiah" (Acts 5:42).

Reference:  (For related teaching, order our leaflet, Thankful to be Catholic.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, July 26, 1997

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 29, 1997