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Sunday, April 11, 1999

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2nd Sunday of Easter

Acts 2:42-47
1 Peter 1:3-9
Psalm 118
John 20:19-31

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out of order?

The brethren "devoted themselves to the apostles' instruction and the communal life, to the breaking of bread and the prayers." —Acts 2:42

"In the first community of Jerusalem, believers 'devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and the prayers.' This sequence is characteristic of the Church's prayer" (Catechism, 2624, emphasis added). The four aspects of Acts 2:42 are sequential, at least in the context of prayer. This means that our prayers must be based on the greatest prayer, the breaking of the bread, that is, the Eucharist. Furthermore, the Eucharist will be a far cry from what the Lord wants it to be if not celebrated in the context of communal life. The breakdown of Christian community in our secular humanistic society accounts for much of the lukewarmness in our Eucharists. However, we will be imprisoned by our cultural blindspots and refuse Christian community until we take on the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16) by devoting ourselves to the apostles' instruction through the Church's teachings and the Bible (Acts 2:42). Finally, without the Holy Spirit, we will never devote ourselves to the apostles' instruction, the communal life, or the Christian life.

We are out of order. The conditions of our lives, Eucharists, and prayers show that something's wrong. However, the risen Christ is breathing on each of us now. Jesus commands us: "Receive the Holy Spirit" (Jn 20:22). The Spirit alone can put our lives in order. Come, Holy Spirit!

Prayer:  "My Lord and my God!" (Jn 20:28) Lord Jesus, mercy.

Promise:  "His mercy endures forever." —Ps 118:2, 4

Praise:  "Praised be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, He Who in His great mercy gave us new birth; a birth unto hope which draws its life from the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead" (1 Pt 1:3). Alleluia forever!

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, October 9, 1998

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 17, 1998