Audio Available!

Audio Available!
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Saturday, April 26, 2014

2nd Sunday of Easter - Divine Mercy - Saints: the goal of the Church

This weekend the entire Catholic Church rejoices as Pope Francis declares two of his recent predecessors to be saints: Angelo Roncalli, who as Pope took the name of John XXIII and shocked the world by declaring the Second Vatican Council, a sign that his hope for the church and for the world was not shattered despite the dark and scary times he lived through in WWII and even of his papacy (most notably the Cold War and nuclear threats); and Karol Wojtyla, who over so many years as Pope John Paul II did many great things, perhaps the greatest being his travels around the world (enough to go to the moon three times) because they created such a strong unity in the church. These men are saints, they weren't perfect. But with God's help they were strengthened to overcome their weaknesses. This is what the Church is meant to be about: making its people to be saints, to overcome the disease of selfishness and concupiscence.

Every year during the Easter Season we hear from Acts of the Apostles, because the life of the early church is meant to be a model for us: this is what we are supposed to be! And today, Acts summarizes for us of the early church understood themselves and lived their baptism. While this whole passage is something we should reflect on, I want to focus especially on the first verse: They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of bread and to the prayers. I would argue that these four things signify the fullness of the Christian life. The meaning of life is hidden within these four things: it is only within them, lived to the full, that we truly alive in divine life that God wants to give us! If someone, although nominally Catholic, is not participating in one of these areas, they are not truly living the Catholic faith. For example, if someone were to say “I am Catholic, I go to Church, but I don't listen to the pope,” then they are missing something: The teaching of the apostles.
And if they said “I am Catholic, I do everything the pope says, but I don't go to Church that often,” or “I don't really go to Confession” then they don't understand The breaking of the bread, code language for the Eucharist, and for today I roll in all the other sacraments, too!


What if you did those things but tried to just live in your own little world, never getting involved at all in the parish or the diocesan initiatives? You are missing The communal life. You can't be a Catholic and a loner, a solo-spiritualist.

And even if you did all those things but had no prayer life whatsoever outside of Sunday Mass? Then you aren't truly what Catholics are supposed to be, for the early church was devoted to The prayers. Spiritual development and personal prayer, drawn from the relationship we find in the Our Father, is essential to Catholic life. God wants this of you.

(1st Communion Mass) My dear children, today you most perfectly participate in the Holy Mass: through your reception of the Holy Eucharist. This mystery is now a part of your life, but that does not mean it is something that you fully understand. None of us ever completely understand it in this life!



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