Saturday, January 8, 2011

Acts of the Apostles

Acts 1:1-11

#58A Solemnities A Context (The Ascension of the Lord A)

#58B Solemnities B Context (The Ascension of the Lord B)

#58C Solemnities C Context (The Ascension of the Lord C)

In the first book, Theophilus,
I dealt with all that Jesus did and taught
until the day he was taken up,
after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit
to the apostles whom he had chosen.
He presented himself alive to them
by many proofs after he had suffered,
appearing to them during forty days
and speaking about the kingdom of God.
While meeting with them,
he enjoined them not to depart from Jerusalem,
but to wait for “the promise of the Father
about which you have heard me speak;
for John baptized with water,
but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

When they had gathered together they asked him,
“Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
He answered them, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons
that the Father has established by his own authority.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you,
and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem,
throughout Judea and Samaria,
and to the ends of the earth.”
When he had said this, as they were looking on,
he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight.
While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going,
suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them.
They said, “Men of Galilee,
why are you standing there looking at the sky?
This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven
will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.”
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Commentary on Acts 1:1-11

These are the introductory comments of St. Luke, as he begins the Acts of the Apostles. Like any well written story, he connects the events that have just taken place in his first volume, the Gospel of Luke, with what will follow.

Using the interval of days, Luke links the Resurrection, Christ’s glorification, and his ascension with the appearance of the Holy Spirit – the Paschal Mystery. Christ’s departure marks the end of his direct involvement with the Apostles, except for his appearance to Paul on the road to Damascus. The passage concludes with a unique description of the actual event of Jesus being taken into heaven.

CCC: Acts 1:1-2 512; Acts 1:3 659; Acts 1:6-7 672; Acts 1:7 474, 673; Acts 1:8 672, 730, 735, 857, 1287; Acts 1:9 659, 697; Acts 1:10-11 333; Acts 1:11 665
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Acts 1:3-8

#765 Ritual Mass Context (I. For the Conferral of Christian Initiation, 4. Confirmation, 1.)

#873 Mass for Various Needs Context (I. For the Holy Church, 11. For the Evangelization of Peoples, 1.)

Jesus showed the Apostles that he was alive
by many proofs after he had suffered,
appearing to them during forty days
and speaking about the kingdom of God.
While meeting with them,
he enjoined them not to depart from Jerusalem,
but to wait for “the promise of the Father
about which you have heard me speak;
for John baptized with water,
but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

When they had gathered together they asked him,
“Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
He answered them, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons
that the Father has established by his own authority.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you,
and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem,
throughout Judea and Samaria,
and to the ends of the earth.”
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Commentary on Acts 1:3-8

Immediately following the introductory comments of St. Luke, he begins the Acts of the Apostles he connects the events that have just taken place in his first volume- The Gospel of Luke, with what will follow. The Acts of the Apostles has been called "the Gospel of the Holy Spirit" and in these opening comments we hear the first of the references to it as the Lord informs the Apostles that shortly they will be anointed by the Holy Spirit.

For their part, the Apostles, through their question, show they are still thinking in earthly terms.  They ask if the Messiah will restore Israel to her Davidic glory.  The Lord then responds telling them that they will have another mission, one which begins once the Holy Spirit has been imparted.  Using the interval of days, Luke links the resurrection, Christ’s glorification, and his ascension with the appearance of the Holy Spirit – the Pascal Mystery. Christ’s departure marks the end of his direct involvement with the Apostles, except for his appearance to Paul on the road to Damascus.

CCC: Acts 1:3 659; Acts 1:6-7 672; Acts 1:7 474, 673; Acts 1:8 672, 730, 735, 857, 1287
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Acts 1:6-14

#17E BVM Context (Our Lady of the Cenacle, Easter 17)

After the resurrection of Jesus,
   the apostles gathered together around him and asked,
   "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to
         Israel?"
Jesus answered them,
   "It is not for you to know the times or seasons
   that the Father has established by his own authority.
But you will receive power when the holy Spirit comes upon you,
   and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem,
   throughout Judea and Samaria,
   and to the ends of the earth."
When Jesus had said this, as the apostles were looking on,
   he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight.
While the apostles were looking intently at the sky as Jesus was
      going,
   suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside
         them.
They said, "Men of Galilee,
   why are you standing there looking at the sky?
This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven
   will return in the same way as you have seen him going into
         heaven."
Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem
   from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem,
   a sabbath day's journey away.
When the apostles entered the city
   they went to the upper room where they were staying,
   Peter and John and James and Andrew,
   Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew,
   James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot,
   and Judas son of James.
All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer,
   together with some women,
   and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.
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Commentary on Acts 1:6-14

Using the interval of days, Luke links the resurrection, Christ’s glorification, and his ascension with the appearance of the Holy Spirit – the Pascal Mystery. Christ’s departure marks the end of his direct involvement with the Apostles, except for his appearance to Paul on the road to Damascus. The passage concludes with a unique description of the actual event or Jesus being taken into heaven.

The passage continues with the Apostles returning to Jerusalem and forming the Christian community.  The body of apostles formed a community dedicated to prayer and mutual support.  It is noteworthy that Mary the Mother of Christ was with them as were other women and relatives of the Lord.

"Here we see Mary as the spiritual center round which Jesus' intimate friends gather: tradition has meditated on this 'tableau', and found it to depict our Lady's motherhood over the whole Church, both at its beginning and over the course of the centuries."[14]

CCC: Acts 1:6-7 672; Acts 1:7 474, 673; Acts 1:8 672, 730, 735, 857, 1287; Acts 1:9 659, 697; Acts 1:10-11 333; Acts 1:11 665; Acts 1:14 726, 1310, 2617, 2623, 2673
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Acts 1:12-14

#59A Solemnities A Context (7th Sunday of Easter)

#653 Proper of Saints Context (Our Lady of the Rosary, Oct 7)

#708 Commons Context (Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary)

#1002 Votive Mass Context (The Blessed Virgin Mary, I The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, Second Option)

#26O-1 BVM Context (The Blessed Virgin Mary, Image and Mother of the Church, II)

After Jesus had been taken up to heaven the apostles
returned to Jerusalem
from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem,
a sabbath day’s journey away.

When they entered the city
they went to the upper room where they were staying,
Peter and John and James and Andrew,
Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew,
James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot,
and Judas son of James.
All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer,
together with some women,
and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.
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Commentary on Acts 1:12-14

This passage provides part of the introductory comments of St. Luke as he begins the Acts of the Apostles. Like any well written story, he connects the events that have just taken place in his first volume- The Gospel of Luke, with what will follow. In the first verses Jesus ascended and told them to expect the gift of the Holy Spirit – in this selection the disciples with Mary the Mother of Jesus and his extended family return to Jerusalem and enter the locked room. Important to recognize is the presence not just of the apostles but of Mary, ever faithful to her son.

"Here we see Mary as the spiritual center round which Jesus' intimate friends gather: tradition has meditated on this 'tableau', and found it to depict our Lady's motherhood over the whole Church, both at its beginning and over the course of the centuries." [14]

CCC: Acts 1:14 726, 1310, 2617, 2623, 2673
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Acts 1:15-17, 20-26

#564 Proper of Saints Context (St. Matthias, May 14)

Peter stood up in the midst of the brothers and sisters
(there was a group of about one hundred and twenty persons
in the one place).
He said, "My brothers and sisters,
the Scripture had to be fulfilled
which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand
through the mouth of David, concerning Judas,
who was the guide for those who arrested Jesus.
Judas was numbered among us
and was allotted a share in this ministry.
For it is written in the Book of Psalms:

Let his encampment become desolate,
and may no one dwell in it.
and:
May another take his office.


Therefore, it is necessary that one of the men
who accompanied us the whole time
the Lord Jesus came and went among us,
beginning from the baptism of John
until the day on which he was taken up from us,
become with us a witness to his resurrection."
So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas,
who was also known as Justus, and Matthias.
Then they prayed,
"You, Lord, who know the hearts of all,
show which one of these two you have chosen
to take the place in this apostolic ministry
from which Judas turned away to go to his own place."
Then they gave lots to them, and the lot fell upon Matthias,
and he was counted with the Eleven Apostles.
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Commentary on Acts 1:15-17, 20-26

This is the account from Acts about how St. Matthias came to be called as the one to replace Judas. St. Peter assumes the leadership role, noting that even the betrayal by Judas was predicted by Holy Scripture.

The two verses omitted (18, 19) give St. Luke’s account of the death of Judas which differs from Matthew’s account (in Luke’s version, he buys property with his ill-gotten gains and is killed in a gruesome fall). We see here how the Church’s tradition of selecting leaders from among the membership is developed with prayer and election by the leaders.

CCC: Acts 1:14 726, 1310, 2617, 2623, 2673; Acts 1:22 523, 535, 642, 995
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Acts 1:15-17, 20a, 20c-26

#60B Solemnities B Context (7th Sunday of Easter B)

Peter stood up in the midst of the brothers
—there was a group of about one hundred and twenty persons
in the one place —.
He said, "My brothers,
the Scripture had to be fulfilled
which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand
through the mouth of David, concerning Judas,
who was the guide for those who arrested Jesus.
He was numbered among us
and was allotted a share in this ministry.

"For it is written in the Book of Psalms:
May another take his office.

"Therefore, it is necessary that one of the men
who accompanied us the whole time
the Lord Jesus came and went among us,
beginning from the baptism of John
until the day on which he was taken up from us,
become with us a witness to his resurrection."
So they proposed two, Judas called Barsabbas,
who was also known as Justus, and Matthias.
Then they prayed,
"You, Lord, who know the hearts of all,
show which one of these two you have chosen
to take the place in this apostolic ministry
from which Judas turned away to go to his own place."
Then they gave lots to them, and the lot fell upon Matthias,
and he was counted with the eleven apostles.
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Commentary on Acts 1:15-17, 20a, 20c-26

We are given the story of how Matthias came to be called as the one to replace Judas. St. Peter assumes the leadership role noting that even the betrayal by Judas was predicted by Holy Scripture.

The two verses omitted (18,19) give St. Luke’s account of the death of Judas which differs from Matthew’s account (in Luke’s version, he buys property with his ill-gotten gains and is killed in a gruesome fall). We see here how the Church’s tradition of selecting leaders from among the membership is developed with prayer and a vote.

CCC: Acts 1:14 726, 1310, 2617, 2623, 2673; Acts 1:22 523, 535, 642, 995
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Acts 1:12-14; 2:1-4

#18E BVM Context (The Blessed Virgin Mary/ Queen of Apostles, Easter 18)

#33O-2 BVM Context (The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Good Counsel)

After Jesus had been taken up into heaven,
   the apostles returned to Jerusalem
   from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem,
   a sabbath day's journey away.

When the apostles entered the city
   they went to the upper room where they were staying,
   Peter and John and James and Andrew,
   Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew,
   James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot,
   and Judas son of James.
All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer,
   together with some women,
   and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.

 When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled,
   the apostles were all in one place together.
 And suddenly there came from the sky
    a noise like a strong driving wind,
    and it filled the entire house in which they were.
 Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire,
    which parted and came to rest on each one of them.
 And they were all filled with the holy Spirit
    and began to speak in different tongues,
    as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.
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Commentary on Acts 1:12-14

This passage provides part of the introductory comments of St. Luke as he begins the Acts of the Apostles. Like any well written story, he connects the events that have just taken place in his first volume- The Gospel of Luke, with what will follow. In the first verses Jesus ascended and told them to expect the gift of the Holy Spirit – in this selection the disciples with Mary the Mother of Jesus and his extended family return to Jerusalem and enter the locked room. Important to recognize is the presence not just of the apostles but of Mary, ever faithful to her son.

"Here we see Mary as the spiritual center round which Jesus' intimate friends gather: tradition has meditated on this 'tableau', and found it to depict our Lady's motherhood over the whole Church, both at ist beginning and over the course of the centuries."[14]

The selection next takes up the Pentecost.  “When the Time for Pentecost was fulfilled” – the word in its Greek form means “fifty” so we understand this phrase to mean – fifty days after Christ’s resurrection (Easter). An interesting coincidence is the Jewish Festival of Weeks (Harvest Festival “Shavuoth”) was also called Pentecost. Whether it was taken first by the Christians and later adopted by the Hellenistic Jews we do not know.

Those present (not just the disciples) heard a loud noise like the rushing of the wind. This signified a new action by God. Indeed we see the symbol of the Holy Spirit, a flame, descend upon the Apostles launching them into prayers of ecstasy that were heard by all present in their own language. This event can be interpreted as a representation of the universal mission of the Church to all peoples of all nations.

CCC: Acts 1:14 726, 1310, 2617, 2623, 2673; Acts 2:1-4 1287; Acts 2:1 2623; Acts 2:3-4 696
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Acts 2:1-6, 14, 22b-23, 32-33

#765 Ritual Mass Context (I. For the Conferral of Christian Initiation, 4. Confirmation, 2.)

When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled,
  they were all in one place together.
And suddenly there came from the sky
  a noise like a strong driving wind,
  and it filled the entire house in which they were.
Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire,
  which parted and came to rest on each one of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit
  and began to speak in different tongues,
  as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.

Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven staying in
    Jerusalem.
At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd,
  but they were confused
  because each one heard them speaking in his own language.
Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice, and proclaimed to
     them:
  "You who are Jews, indeed all of you staying in Jerusalem.
Let this be known to you, and listen to my words.
"Jesus the Nazorean was a man commended to you by God
  with mighty deeds, wonders, and signs,
  which God worked through him in your midst,
  as you yourselves know.
This man, delivered up by the set plan and foreknowledge of God,
   you killed, using lawless men to crucify him.

"God raised this Jesus;
   of this we are all witnesses.
 Exalted at the right hand of God,
   he received the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father
   and poured it forth, as you both see and hear."

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Commentary on Acts 2:1-6, 14, 22b-23, 32-33

When the Time for Pentecost was fulfilled” – the word in its Greek form means “fifty” so we understand this phrase to mean – fifty days after Christ’s resurrection (Easter). An interesting coincidence is the Jewish Festival of Weeks (Harvest Festival “Shavuoth”) was also called Pentecost. Whether it was taken first by the Christians and later adopted by the Hellenistic Jews we do not know.

Those present (not just the disciples) heard a loud noise like the rushing of the wind. This signified a new action by God. Indeed we see the symbol of the Holy Spirit, a flame, descend upon the Apostles launching them into prayers of ecstasy that were heard by all present in their own language. This event can be interpreted as a representation of the universal mission of the Church to all peoples of all nations.

The passage next provides St. Peter's address.  He offers proofs that Jesus is the Messiah and that all that transpired was part of God's plan of salvation for the people.  The people are informed that Jesus has been raised from the dead and what transpires now, as the Holy Spirit is poured out, is a direct result of the revelation by Jesus of God's saving plan.

CCC: Acts 2:1-4 1287; Acts 2:1 2623; Acts 2:3-4 696; Acts 2:21 432, 2666; Acts 2:22 547; Acts 2:23 597, 599; Acts 2:33 659, 788
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Acts 2:1-11

#63A Solemnities A Context (Pentecost Sunday A)

#63B Solemnities B Context (Pentecost Sunday B)

#63C Solemnities C Context (Pentecost Sunday C)

#863 Mass for Various Needs Context (I. For the Holy Church, 9. For the Laity, 1.)

When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled,
they were all in one place together.
And suddenly there came from the sky
a noise like a strong driving wind,
and it filled the entire house in which they were.
Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire,
which parted and came to rest on each one of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit
and began to speak in different tongues,
as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.

Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven staying in Jerusalem.
At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd,
but they were confused
because each one heard them speaking in his own language.
They were astounded, and in amazement they asked,
“Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans?
Then how does each of us hear them in his native language?
We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites,
inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia,
Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia,
Egypt and the districts of Libya near Cyrene,
as well as travelers from Rome,
both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs,
yet we hear them speaking in our own tongues
of the mighty acts of God.”
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Commentary on Acts 2:1-11

When the Time for Pentecost was fulfilled” – the word in its Greek form means “fifty” so we understand this phrase to mean – fifty days after Christ’s resurrection (Easter). An interesting coincidence is the Jewish Festival of Weeks (Harvest Festival “Shavuoth”) was also called Pentecost. Whether it was taken first by the Christians and later adopted by the Hellenistic Jews we do not know.

Those present (not just the disciples) heard a loud noise like the rushing of the wind. This signified a new action by God. Indeed we see the symbol of the Holy Spirit, a flame, descend upon the Apostles launching them into prayers of ecstasy that were heard by all present in their own language. This event can be interpreted as a representation of the universal mission of the Church to all peoples of all nations.

CCC: Acts 2:1-4 1287; Acts 2:1 2623; Acts 2:3-4 696; Acts 2:11 1287
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Acts 2:14, 22-33

#46A Solemnities A Context (3rd Sunday of Easter A)

#261 Weekday Years I & II Context (Monday in the Octave of Easter)

On the day of Pentecost, Peter stood up with the Eleven,
raised his voice, and proclaimed:
"You who are Jews, indeed all of you staying in Jerusalem.
Let this be known to you, and listen to my words.

"You who are children of Israel, hear these words.
Jesus the Nazorean was a man commended to you by God
with mighty deeds, wonders, and signs,
which God worked through him in your midst, as you yourselves know.
This man, delivered up by the set plan and foreknowledge of God,
you killed, using lawless men to crucify him.
But God raised him up, releasing him from the throes of death,
because it was impossible for him to be held by it.
For David says of him:

I saw the Lord ever before me,
with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.
Therefore my heart has been glad and my tongue has exulted;
my flesh, too, will dwell in hope,
because you will not abandon my soul to the nether world,
nor will you suffer your holy one to see corruption.
You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence.

My brothers, one can confidently say to you
about the patriarch David that he died and was buried,
and his tomb is in our midst to this day.
But since he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn an oath to him
that he would set one of his descendants upon his throne,
he foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ,
that neither was he abandoned to the netherworld
nor did his flesh see corruption.
God raised this Jesus;
of this we are all witnesses.
Exalted at the right hand of God,
he poured forth the promise of the Holy Spirit
that he received from the Father, as you both see and hear."
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Commentary on Acts 2:14, 22-33

This is the first of the six professions (“kerygma” or proclamations) in Acts about the resurrection set immediately following the Pentecost event. In this proclamation, Peter, speaking to the Jews in Jerusalem (many of whom would have been in the crowd that saw Jesus crucified), first tells them that: “This man (Jesus)” demonstrated, through “signs and wonders,” that he was the Christ. He then makes the accusation: “you killed,” and concludes with, “but God raised him up.” He reminds them that David had been promised an eternal dynasty (quoting Psalm 16:8-11), and  that promise had been fulfilled in the resurrected Messiah, Jesus.

CCC: Acts 2:22 547; Acts 2:23 597, 599
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Acts 2:14a, 22-24, 32-36

#726 Commons Context (Common of Doctors of the Church, During the Easter Season)

On the day of the Pentecost, Peter stood up with the Eleven,
raised his voice, and proclaimed to them:
"You who are children of Israel, hear these words.
Jesus the Nazorean was a man commended to you by God
with mighty deeds, wonders, and signs,
which God worked through him in your midst, as you yourselves know.
This man, delivered up by the set plan and foreknowledge of God,
you killed, using lawless men to crucify him.
But God raised him up, releasing him from the throes of death,
because it was impossible for him to be held by it.
"God raised this Jesus; of this we are all witnesses.
Exalted at the right hand of God,
he received the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father
and poured it forth, as you both see and hear.
For David did not go up into heaven, but he himself said:
The Lord said to my Lord,
'Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies your footstool.'
Therefore let the whole house of Israel know for certain
that God has made him both Lord and Christ,
this Jesus whom you crucified."
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Commentary on Acts 2:14a, 22-24, 32-36

This is the first of the six professions (“kerugma” or proclamations) in Acts about the resurrection set immediately following the Pentecost event. In this proclamation, Peter, speaking to the Jews in Jerusalem (many of whom would have been in the crowd that saw Jesus crucified) first tells them that “This man (Jesus)” demonstrated through “signs and wonders” that he was the Christ. He then makes the accusation “you killed” and concludes with “But God raised him up…”.He reminds them that David had been made the promise of an eternal dynasty (quoting Psalm 16:8-11) that had been fulfilled in the resurrected Messiah, Jesus.

CCC: Acts 2:22 547; Acts 2:23 597, 599; Acts 2:33 659, 788; Acts 2:34-36 447, 449; Acts 2:36-38 1433; Acts 2:36 440, 597, 695, 731, 746
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Acts 2:14a, 36-40a, 41-42

#752 Ritual Mass Context (I. For the Conferral of Christian Initiation, 1. Catechumenate and Christian Initiation of Adults, Christian Initiation Apart from the Easter Vigil, 1.)

#16E BVM Context (Holy Mary/ Fountain of Light and Life, Easter 16)

On the day of Pentecost, Peter stood up with the Eleven,
  raised his voice, and proclaimed:

  "Let the whole house of Israel know for certain
  that God has made him both Lord and Christ,
  this Jesus whom you crucified."

Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart,
  and they asked Peter and the other Apostles,
  "What are we to do, my brothers?"
Peter said to them,
  "Repent and be baptized, every one of you,
  in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins;
  and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
For the promise is made to you and to your children
  and to all those far off,
  whomever the Lord our God will call."
He testified with many other arguments, and was exhorting them.
Those who accepted his message were baptized,
  and about three thousand persons were added that day.

They devoted themselves to the teaching of the Apostles
  and to the communal life,
  to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers.
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Commentary on Acts 2:14a, 36-40a, 41-42

This exhortation to repentance follows the first of six discourses in Acts (Acts 2:14-36) dealing with Jesus’ resurrection and mission as Messiah. It also follows on the heels of the Pentecost event. The focus of this selection is the Jewish response to Peter's revelation that Jesus, who was put to death at the hands of the Jews, was the Messiah.  Their admission of this truth provoked a simple response; "What are we to do, my brothers?"

Peter responds   "Repent and be baptized, every one of you,   in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins;   and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."  A special note; this injunction by St. Peter does not supersede the command that the Trinitarian formula be used in baptism (e.g. ...In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. see Matthew 28:19).  Rather, he is telling his audience they must repent and be washed clean of their sins in baptism.  A benefit of this healing bath is also the reception of the Holy Spirit, a gift sealed in the Sacrament of Confirmation.

St. Luke records that the message of the Apostles was received in truth and "...about three thousand persons were added that day." The passage concludes with the Apostles fervently dedicating themselves to follow the command that Christ left them, to living in common, loving one another, and to proclaiming the Good News as they shared the Eucharist.

CCC: Acts 2:34-36 447, 449; Acts 2:36-38 1433; Acts 2:36 440, 597, 695, 731, 746; Acts 2:38 1226, 1262, 1287, 1427; Acts 2:41 363, 1226
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Acts 2:14a, 36-41

#49A Solemnities A Context (4th Sunday of Easter A)

Then Peter stood up with the Eleven,
raised his voice, and proclaimed:
“Let the whole house of Israel know for certain
that God has made both Lord and Christ,
this Jesus whom you crucified.”

Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart,
and they asked Peter and the other apostles,
“What are we to do, my brothers?”
Peter said to them,
“Repent and be baptized, every one of you,
in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins;
and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
For the promise is made to you and to your children and to all those far off,
whomever the Lord our God will call.”
He testified with many other arguments, and was exhorting them,
“Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”
Those who accepted his message were baptized,
and about three thousand persons were added that day.
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Commentary on Acts 2:14a, 36-41

This exhortation to repentance follows the first of six discourses in Acts (Acts 2:14-36) dealing with Jesus’ resurrection and mission as Messiah. It occurs immediately after the Pentecost event. The focus of this selection is the idea of internal conversion of heart – repentance as acceptance of the offer of Christ’s salvation to all peoples (“For the promise is made to you and to your children and to all those far off”). The response to St. Peter’s discourse was impressive, with a huge number the Jewish audience accepting the call to repentance and the acceptance of Jesus as the Christ.

CCC: Acts 2:34-36 447, 449; Acts 2:36-38 1433; Acts 2:36 440, 597, 695, 731, 746; Acts 2:38 1226, 1262, 1287, 1427; Acts 2:41 363, 1226
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Acts 2:36-41

#262 Weekday Years I & II Context (Tuesday in the Octave of Easter)

On the day of Pentecost, Peter said to the Jewish people,
"Let the whole house of Israel know for certain
that God has made him both Lord and Christ,
this Jesus whom you crucified."

Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart,
and they asked Peter and the other Apostles,
"What are we to do, my brothers?"
Peter said to them,
"Repent and be baptized, every one of you,
in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins;
and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
For the promise is made to you and to your children
and to all those far off,
whomever the Lord our God will call."
He testified with many other arguments, and was exhorting them,
"Save yourselves from this corrupt generation."
Those who accepted his message were baptized,
and about three thousand persons were added that day.
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Commentary on Acts 2:36-41

The selection from Acts continues the First Discourse by Peter concerning the Messiah. In this section he introduces Baptism in the name of Jesus. This is in accord with the instructions of all four Gospels found here for the first time. Peter’s arguments are compelling and we are told that three thousand people accepted the call.

We note here also that Peter called for “repentance” in addition to the call to Baptism. While Baptism washes away past sins, repentance is a call to on-going conversion of heart. The indelible change in character is a consequence of the gift of the Holy Spirit also given in Baptism.

CCC: Acts 2:34-36 447, 449; Acts 2:36-38 1433; Acts 2:36 440, 597, 695, 731, 746; Acts 2:38 1226, 1262, 1287, 1427; Acts 2:41 363, 1226
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Acts 2:42-47

#43A Solemnities A Context (2nd Sunday of Easter A [Divine Mercy Sunday])

#786 Ritual Mass Context (IV. For the Conferral of Ministries, Institution of Acolytes, 1.)

#807 Ritual Mass Context (VII. For the Blessing of Abbots and Abbesses, 1.)

#812 Ritual Mass Context (VIII. For the Consecration of Virgins and Religious Profession, 1.)

#818 Ritual Mass Context (IX. For the Dedication of a Church or Altar [During the Easter Season], 1.)

#828 Mass for Various Needs Context (I. For the Holy Church, 1. For the Church, 1.)

#853 Mass for Various Needs Context (I. For the Holy Church, 7. For Religious, 1.)

#977 Votive Mass Context (For the Holy Eucharist [During the Easter Season], 1.)

They devoted themselves
to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life,
to the breaking of bread and to the prayers.
Awe came upon everyone,
and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.
All who believed were together and had all things in common;
they would sell their property and possessions
and divide them among all according to each one’s need.
Every day they devoted themselves
to meeting together in the temple area
and to breaking bread in their homes.
They ate their meals with exultation and sincerity of heart,
praising God and enjoying favor with all the people.
And every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.
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Commentary on Acts 2:42-47

This selection is the conclusion of St. Luke’s Pentecostal narrative. The Holy Spirit has descended upon the people, and St. Peter has offered his speech declaring Christ risen and explaining the messianic significance of that event. The people have reacted favorably to his words and we find many have been reached. The description of the early Christian Community in Jerusalem, the first of three summary passages (along with Acts 4:32-37 and Acts 5:12-16), reflects an idyllic communal life style that is focused on the teaching of the twelve Apostles and the Eucharistic liturgy. We note the reference to the continued attendance at the temple indicating that there was no thought of separating the Christian faithful from Judaism.

CCC: Acts 2:42-46 2178; Acts 2:42 3, 857, 949, 1329, 1342, 2624; Acts 2:46 584,1329,1342; Acts 2:47 2640
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Acts 3:1-10

#263 Weekday Years I & II Context (Wednesday in the Octave of Easter)

#590 Proper of Saints Context (Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles-Vigil)

#791 Ritual Mass Context (V. For the Pastoral Care of the Sick and Dying, Anointing of the Sick [During the Easter Season], First Option)

#984 Votive Mass Context (The Most Holy Name of Jesus [During the Easter Season], 1.)

Peter and John were going up to the temple area
for the three o'clock hour of prayer.
And a man crippled from birth was carried
and placed at the gate of the temple called "the Beautiful Gate" every day
to beg for alms from the people who entered the temple.
When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple,
he asked for alms.
But Peter looked intently at him, as did John,
and said, "Look at us."
He paid attention to them, expecting to receive something from them.
Peter said, "I have neither silver nor gold,
but what I do have I give you:
in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, rise and walk."
Then Peter took him by the right hand and raised him up,
and immediately his feet and ankles grew strong.
He leaped up, stood, and walked around,
and went into the temple with them,
walking and jumping and praising God.
When all the people saw him walking and praising God,
they recognized him as the one
who used to sit begging at the Beautiful Gate of the temple,
and they were filled with amazement and astonishment
at what had happened to him.
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Commentary on Acts 3:1-10

This dramatic cure of the lame beggar is the first miracle worked by the Apostles and begins a series of events that place the disciples in the footsteps of Jesus. "'This cure,' says St John Chrysostom, 'testifies to the resurrection of Christ, of which it is an image. [...] Observe that they do not go up to the temple with the intention of performing a miracle, so clear were they of ambition, so closely did they imitate their Master' (Hom, on Acts, 8)."[15]

In this first action, the beggar is cured in the name of Jesus and immediately he is led into the temple area. The symbolism here is Jesus heals us and leads us to faith. The miraculous cure also serves a secondary purpose. In addition to demonstrating the power of God’s intense love invoked through the name of Jesus, it also serves to draw a large crowd to hear the kerygmatic discourse of St. Peter which follows.

CCC: Acts 3:1 584; Acts 3:9 2640
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Acts 3:11-26

#264 Weekday Years I & II Context (Thursday in the Octave of Easter)

As the crippled man who had been cured clung to Peter and John,
all the people hurried in amazement toward them
in the portico called "Solomon's Portico."
When Peter saw this, he addressed the people,
"You children of Israel, why are you amazed at this,
and why do you look so intently at us
as if we had made him walk by our own power or piety?
The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob,
the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus
whom you handed over and denied in Pilate's presence,
when he had decided to release him.
You denied the Holy and Righteous One
and asked that a murderer be released to you.
The author of life you put to death,
but God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses.
And by faith in his name,
this man, whom you see and know, his name has made strong,
and the faith that comes through it
has given him this perfect health,
in the presence of all of you.
Now I know, brothers and sisters,
that you acted out of ignorance, just as your leaders did;
but God has thus brought to fulfillment
what he had announced beforehand
through the mouth of all the prophets,
that his Christ would suffer.
Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away,
and that the Lord may grant you times of refreshment
and send you the Christ already appointed for you, Jesus,
whom heaven must receive until the times of universal restoration
of which God spoke through the mouth
of his holy prophets from of old.
For Moses said:

A prophet like me will the Lord, your God, raise up for you
from among your own kin;
to him you shall listen in all that he may say to you.
Everyone who does not listen to that prophet
will be cut off from the people.


"Moreover, all the prophets who spoke,
from Samuel and those afterwards, also announced these days.
You are the children of the prophets
and of the covenant that God made with your ancestors
when he said to Abraham,
In your offspring all the families of the earth shall be blessed.
For you first, God raised up his servant and sent him to bless you
by turning each of you from your evil ways."
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Commentary on Acts 3:11-26

Following the earlier cure of the lame beggar, a crowd gathers in the temple area and Peter launches into the second kerygmatic discourse or proclamation about the nature of Christ. When Peter sees the Jews are amazed, in response to the crowd's incredulity he explains that the God anointed his "servant Jesus." In the original Greek, the word used is "pais," which is translated into Latin as "puer," which can be understood both as "slave/servant" and as "filius" - son. Peter uses the same formula: "The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob" from Exodus 3:6. He also uses a new title for the Savior, “The Author of Life.”

"This second address by St. Peter contains two parts: in the first (vv. 12-16) the apostle explains that the miracle has been worked in the name of Jesus and through faith in this name; in the second (vv. 17-26) he move his listeners to repentance - people who were responsible in some degree for Jesus' death.  This discourse has the same purpose as that of Pentecost - to show the power of God made manifest in Jesus Christ and to make the Jews see the seriousness of their crime and have them repent."[8]

He concludes this discourse with a call for conversion and repentance. He cites Moses' prophecy using a paraphrase of Deuteronomy 18:15, demonstrating that the Old Testament prophecy was fulfilled in Christ.

CCC: Acts 3:13-14 597; Acts 3:13 599; Acts 3:14 438, 601; Acts 3:15-16 2666; Acts 3:15 612, 626, 632, 635; Acts 3:17-18 591, 600; Acts 3:17 597; Acts 3:18 601; Acts 3:19-21 674
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Acts 3:11-16

#791 Ritual Mass Context (V. For the Pastoral Care of the Sick or Dying, 1. Anointing of the Sick - Readings from the New Testament During the Easter Season, Second Option)

As the beggar who had been cured clung to Peter and John,
all the people hurried in amazement toward them
in the portico called "Solomon's Portico."
When Peter saw this, he addressed the people,
"You children of Israel, why are you amazed at this,
and why do you look so intently at us
as if we had made him walk by our own power or piety?
The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob,
the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus
whom you handed over and denied in Pilate's presence,
when he had decided to release him.
You denied the Holy and Righteous One
and asked that a murderer be released to you.
The author of life you put to death,
but God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses.
And by faith in his name,
this man, whom you see and know, his name has made strong,
and the faith that comes through it
has given him this perfect health,
in the presence of all of you.
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Commentary on Acts 3:11-16

Following the earlier cure of the lame beggar, a crowd gathers in the temple area and Peter launches into the second kerygmatic discourse or proclamations about the nature of Christ. When Peter sees the Jews are amazed, in response to the crowd's incredulity, he explains that the God anointed his "servant Jesus" in the original Greek, the word used is "pias" it is translated into Latin as "puer" which can be understood as "slave/servant" and as "filius" -son. Peter uses the same formula "The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob" from Exodus 3:6.

He also uses a new title for the Savior, “The Author of Life.”  "This second address by St. Peter contains two parts: in the first (vv. 12-16) the apostle explains that the miracle has been worked in the name of Jesus and through faith in this name; [...] This discourse has the same purpose as that of Pentecost - to show the power of God made manifest in Jesus Christ and to make the Jews see the seriousness of their crime and have them repent."[8]

CCC: Acts 3:13-14 597; Acts 3:13 599; Acts 3:14 438, 601; Acts 3:15-16 2666; Acts 3:15 612, 626, 632, 635
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Acts 3:13-15, 17-19

#47B Solemnities B Context (3rd Sunday of Easter B)

#893 Mass for Various Needs Context (II. For Public Needs, 15. Reconciliation, First Option)

Peter said to the people:
"The God of Abraham,
the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob,
the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus,
whom you handed over and denied in Pilate's presence
when he had decided to release him.
You denied the Holy and Righteous One
and asked that a murderer be released to you.
The author of life you put to death,
but God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses.
Now I know, brothers,
that you acted out of ignorance, just as your leaders did;
but God has thus brought to fulfillment
what he had announced beforehand
through the mouth of all the prophets,
that his Christ would suffer.
Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away."
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Commentary on Acts 3:13-15, 17-19

Following the earlier cure of the lame beggar, a crowd gathers in the temple area and Peter launches into the second kerygmatic discourse or proclamations about the nature of Christ. Peter uses a new title for the Savior, “The Author of Life.” He concludes this discourse with a call for conversion.

He also uses a new title for the Savior, “The Author of Life.”  "This second address by St. Peter contains two parts: in the first (vv. 12-16) the apostle explains that the miracle has been worked in the name of Jesus and through faith in this name; [...] This discourse has the same purpose as that of Pentecost - to show the power of God made manifest in Jesus Christ and to make the Jews see the seriousness of their crime and have them repent."[8]

CCC: Acts 3:13-14 597; Acts 3:13 599; Acts 3:14 438, 601; Acts 3:15-16 2666; Acts 3:15 612, 626, 632, 635; Acts 3:17-18 591, 600; Acts 3:17 597; Acts 3:18 601; Acts 3:19-21 674
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Acts 4:1-5, 18-21

#878 Mass for Various Needs Context (I. For the Holy Church, 12. For Persecuted Christians, 1.)

While Peter and John were still speaking to the people,
  the priests, the captain of the temple guard,
  and the Sadducees confronted them,
  disturbed that they were teaching the people
  and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead.
They laid hands on them
  and put them in custody until the next day,
  since it was already evening.
But many of those who heard the word came to believe
  and the number of men grew to about five thousand.

On the next day, their leaders, elders, and scribes
  were assembled in Jerusalem.

So they called them back
  and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.
Peter and John, however, said to them in reply,
  "Whether it is right in the sight of God
  for us to obey you rather than God,
  you be the judges.
It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard."
After threatening them further, they released them,
  finding no way to punish them,
  on account of the people who were all praising God for what had
      happened.
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Commentary on Acts 4:1-5, 18-21

This selection follows Peter and John as they proclaim Christ crucified and risen. in this selection, their effective apology has now gained them an audience with Caiaphas and the rest of the Sanhedrin – the very same people who handed Jesus over to be crucified.

The Sanhedrin has a problem. Too many people saw the miracle done at the "Beautiful Gate" in Jesus’ name. They attempt damage control by threatening Peter and John. This does not work and we hear the final word of their kerygmatic discourse as they proclaim once more Christ Risen. Significant is the fact that the reason the Sanhedrin could not punish them further was the event had been attributed by the people to God’s mercy not to the disciples themselves.

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Acts of the Apostles 4:1-12

#265 Weekday Years I & II Context (Friday in the Octave of Easter)

After the crippled man had been cured,
while Peter and John were still speaking to the people,
the priests, the captain of the temple guard,
and the Sadducees confronted them,
disturbed that they were teaching the people
and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead.
They laid hands on Peter and John
and put them in custody until the next day,
since it was already evening.
But many of those who heard the word came to believe
and the number of men grew to about five thousand.

On the next day, their leaders, elders, and scribes
were assembled in Jerusalem, with Annas the high priest,
Caiaphas, John, Alexander,
and all who were of the high-priestly class.
They brought them into their presence and questioned them,
"By what power or by what name have you done this?"
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, answered them,
"Leaders of the people and elders:
If we are being examined today
about a good deed done to a cripple,
namely, by what means he was saved,
then all of you and all the people of Israel should know
that it was in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean
whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead;
in his name this man stands before you healed.
He is the stone rejected by you, the builders,
which has become the cornerstone.
There is no salvation through anyone else,
nor is there any other name under heaven
given to the human race by which we are to be saved."
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Commentary on Acts 4:1-12

This selection follows Peter and John as they proclaim Christ crucified and risen. In these verses, their effective apologia has now gained them an audience with Caiaphas and the rest of the Sanhedrin, the very same people who handed Jesus over to be crucified. Peter, having just performed a saving act in Jesus’ name, reminds them of this fact with the famous cornerstone (in other versions the word used is “keystone” or “head of the corner”) speech using imagery from their own hymnal Psalm 118:22.

CCC: Acts 4:10 597; Acts 4:11 756; Acts 4:12 432, 452, 1507
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Acts 4:8-12

#50B Solemnities B Context (4th Sunday of Easter B)

#566 Proper of Saints Context (St. Bernardine, May 20)

#791 Ritual Mass Context (V. For the Pastoral Care of the Sick or Dying, 1. Anointing of the Sick, During the Season of Easter, Third Option)

#984 Votive Mass Context (The Most Holy Name of Jesus, 2)

Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, answered them:
"Leaders of the people and elders:
If we are being examined today
about a good deed done to a cripple,
namely, by what means he was saved,
then all of you and all the people of Israel should know
that it was in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean
whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead;
in his name this man stands before you healed.
He is the stone rejected by you, the builders,
which has become the cornerstone.
There is no salvation through anyone else,
nor is there any other name under heaven
given to the human race by which we are to be saved."
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Commentary on Acts 4:8-12

This selection follows Peter and John as they proclaim Christ crucified and risen. As we hear in this passage, their effective apology has now gained them an audience with Caiaphas and the rest of the Sanhedrin – the very same people who handed Jesus over to be crucified and Peter, having just performed a saving act in His name, reminds them with the famous cornerstone (in other versions the word used is “keystone” or “head of the corner”) speech using imagery from their own hymnal Psalm 118:22.

CCC: Acts 4:10 597; Acts 4:11 756; Acts 4:12 432, 452, 1507
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Acts 4:13-21

#266 Weekday Years I & II Context (Saturday in the Octave of Easter)

Observing the boldness of Peter and John
and perceiving them to be uneducated, ordinary men,
the leaders, elders, and scribes were amazed,
and they recognized them as the companions of Jesus.
Then when they saw the man who had been cured standing there with them,
they could say nothing in reply.
So they ordered them to leave the Sanhedrin,
and conferred with one another, saying,
"What are we to do with these men?
Everyone living in Jerusalem knows that a remarkable sign
was done through them, and we cannot deny it.
But so that it may not be spread any further among the people,
let us give them a stern warning
never again to speak to anyone in this name."

So they called them back
and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.
Peter and John, however, said to them in reply,
"Whether it is right in the sight of God
for us to obey you rather than God, you be the judges.
It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard."
After threatening them further,
they released them,
finding no way to punish them,
on account of the people who were all praising God
for what had happened.
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Commentary on Acts 4:13-21

This is the conclusion of the story of the healing of the lame beggar at the “Beautiful Gate." The Sanhedrin has a problem. Too many people saw the miracle done in Jesus’ name. They attempt damage control by threatening Peter and John. This does not work and we hear the final word of their kerygmatic discourse as they proclaim the Risen Christ once more. Significant is the fact that the reason the Sanhedrin could not punish them further was that the event had been attributed by the people to God’s mercy not to the disciples themselves.

CCC: Acts 4:20 425; Acts 4:21 2640
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Acts 4:23-31

#267 Weekday Years I & II Context (Monday of the 2nd Week of Easter)

#878 Mass for Various Needs Context (I. For the Holy Church, 12. For Persecuted Christians, 2.)

After their release Peter and John went back to their own people
and reported what the chief priests and elders had told them.
And when they heard it,
they raised their voices to God with one accord
and said, "Sovereign Lord, maker of heaven and earth
and the sea and all that is in them,
you said by the Holy Spirit
through the mouth of our father David, your servant:

Why did the Gentiles rage
and the peoples entertain folly?
The kings of the earth took their stand
and the princes gathered together
against the Lord and against his anointed.


Indeed they gathered in this city
against your holy servant Jesus whom you anointed,
Herod and Pontius Pilate,
together with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel,
to do what your hand and your will
had long ago planned to take place.
And now, Lord, take note of their threats,
and enable your servants to speak your word
with all boldness, as you stretch forth your hand to heal,
and signs and wonders are done
through the name of your holy servant Jesus."
As they prayed, the place where they were gathered shook,
and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit
and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.
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Commentary on Acts 4:23-31

This selection from Acts continues describing the efforts of Peter and John after they return from being threatened by the Sanhedrin for proclaiming Jesus and performing signs in Jesus' name. They sing Psalm 2: 1-3, implying that those in power oppose the true mission of God. The passage concludes with their prayer for strength in continuing their work. The occurrence of an earth tremor is understood to symbolize God’s presence and affirmative response.

CCC: Acts 4:26-27 436; Acts 4:27-28 600
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Acts 4:32-37

#268 Weekday Years I & II Context (Tuesday of the 2nd Week of Easter)

The community of believers was of one heart and mind,
and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own,
but they had everything in common.
With great power the Apostles bore witness
to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus,
and great favor was accorded them all.
There was no needy person among them,
for those who owned property or houses would sell them,
bring the proceeds of the sale,
and put them at the feet of the Apostles,
and they were distributed to each according to need.

Thus Joseph, also named by the Apostles Barnabas
(which is translated "son of encouragement"),
a Levite, a Cypriot by birth,
sold a piece of property that he owned,
then brought the money and put it at the feet of the Apostles.
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Commentary on Acts 4:32-37

This selection from Acts is the second summary describing the community of faith at Jerusalem. The description is of a community completely unified in the faith in the risen Lord. They live in accordance with the practices followed by the disciples when they were with Jesus, sharing all material possessions. The Barnabas mentioned in this selection is presumed to be the same person who later joins Paul in his missionary quests.

CCC: Acts 4:32 952, 2790; Acts 4:33 995
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Acts 4:32-35

#44B Solemnities B Context (2nd Sunday of Easter B Divine Mercy Sunday)

#611A^ Proper of Saints Context (St. Peter Julian Eymard, Aug 2)

#738 Commons Context (Common of Holy Men and Women)

#812 Ritual Mass Context (VIII. For the Consecration of Virgins and Religious Profession, 2)

The community of believers was of one heart and mind,
and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own,
but they had everything in common.
With great power the Apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all.
There was no needy person among them,
for those who owned property or houses would sell them,
bring the proceeds of the sale,
and put them at the feet of the Apostles,
and they were distributed to each according to need.

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Commentary on Acts 4:32-35

This selection from Acts is the second summary describing the community of faith at Jerusalem. The description is of a community completely unified in the faith of the risen Lord living, in accordance with the practices followed by the disciples when they were with Jesus, sharing all material possessions.

CCC: Acts 4:32 952, 2790; Acts 4:33 995
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Acts 5:12-16

#45C Solemnities C Context (2nd Sunday of Easter C - Divine Mercy)

Many signs and wonders were done among the people
at the hands of the apostles.
They were all together in Solomon’s portico.
None of the others dared to join them, but the people esteemed them.
Yet more than ever, believers in the Lord,
great numbers of men and women, were added to them.
Thus they even carried the sick out into the streets
and laid them on cots and mats
so that when Peter came by,
at least his shadow might fall on one or another of them.
A large number of people from the towns
in the vicinity of Jerusalem also gathered,
bringing the sick and those disturbed by unclean spirits,
and they were all cured.
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Commentary on Acts 5:12-16

The disciples continue to evangelize the people of Jerusalem in this, the third of St. Luke’s descriptive summaries. We see a continuation of the healing power of their ministry in the name of Jesus and feel belief in the risen Lord grow. The miraculous events and signs occurring in the Name of Jesus serve to demonstrate that the Kingdom of God is among those of this early community.

“Miracles are a form of accreditation God gives to the Gospel message: they are actions of God in support of the truth of his messengers’ preaching. ‘If they had not worked miracles and wonders,’ Origen says, ‘Jesus‘ disciples could not have moved their hearers to give up their traditional religion for new teachings and truths, and to embrace, at the risk of their lives, the teachings which are being proclaimed to them' (Against Celsus, 1, 46).”[9]

CCC: Acts 5:12 699
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Acts 5:17-26

#269 Weekday Years I & II Context (Wednesday of the 2nd Week of Easter)

The high priest rose up and all his companions,
that is, the party of the Sadducees,
and, filled with jealousy,
laid hands upon the Apostles and put them in the public jail.
But during the night, the angel of the Lord opened the doors of the prison,
led them out, and said,
"Go and take your place in the temple area,
and tell the people everything about this life."
When they heard this,
they went to the temple early in the morning and taught.
When the high priest and his companions arrived,
they convened the Sanhedrin,
the full senate of the children of Israel,
and sent to the jail to have them brought in.
But the court officers who went did not find them in the prison,
so they came back and reported,
"We found the jail securely locked
and the guards stationed outside the doors,
but when we opened them, we found no one inside."
When the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests heard this report,
they were at a loss about them,
as to what this would come to.
Then someone came in and reported to them,
"The men whom you put in prison are in the temple area
and are teaching the people."
Then the captain and the court officers went and brought them,
but without force,
because they were afraid of being stoned by the people.
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Commentary on Acts 5:17-26

This is the second time the Apostles are attacked by the Sanhedrin. They have already been told by the Jewish leadership to stop teaching and have been condemned as false prophets, so there is no need for a second trial and they are jailed. Jailing Apostles in Acts doesn’t seem to work very well (see also Acts 12:6-11; 16:25-29).  They fearlessly return to the Temple area and resume their mission to proclaim Christ Crucified and Risen, forcing the Sanhedrin to take action.

CCC: Acts 5:18-20 334; Acts 5:20 584; Acts 5:21 584
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Acts 5:27-32, 40b-41

#48C Solemnities C Context (3rd Sunday of Easter C)

When the captain and the court officers had brought the apostles in
and made them stand before the Sanhedrin,
the high priest questioned them,
“We gave you strict orders, did we not,
to stop teaching in that name?
Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching
and want to bring this man’s blood upon us.”
But Peter and the apostles said in reply,
“We must obey God rather than men.
The God of our ancestors raised Jesus,
though you had him killed by hanging him on a tree.
God exalted him at his right hand as leader and savior
to grant Israel repentance and forgiveness of sins.
We are witnesses of these things,
as is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.”

The Sanhedrin ordered the apostles
to stop speaking in the name of Jesus, and dismissed them.
So they left the presence of the Sanhedrin,
rejoicing that they had been found worthy
to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Acts 5:27-32, 40b-41

As in the previous case when they had cured the lame beggar, the Apostles (this time all of them, not just Peter and John) are brought before the Sanhedrin. It is interesting to see that the elders and scribes fear to speak the name of Jesus in these proceedings (“…stop teaching in that name”).

Peter now assumes his role as leader of the Apostles and again boldly professes his faith that Jesus, in whose name they speak and whose name the Sanhedrin fear to speak, is the Son of God (“We must obey God rather than man”).

While we do not hear the rationale from Gamaliel (St.Paul’s mentor) that killing the Apostles would serve no useful purpose (Acts 5:34-39), and we do not hear that they are scourged (Acts 5:40a), we pick up the tale of the Apostles after they were beaten.

Gamaliel was indeed wise, recognizing that, even before it formally existed, the blood of martyrs is seed for new members of the Church. Indeed, even persecution has a positive effect on the faith and fervor of the Apostles (“So they left the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name.”)

CCC: Acts 5:28 597; Acts 5:29 450, 2242, 2256; Acts 5:30 597; Acts 5:41 432
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Acts 5:27b-32, 40b-42

#878 Mass for Various Needs Context (I. For the Holy Church, 12. For Persecuted Christians, 3.)

#984 Votive Mass Context (The Most Holy Name of Jesus [From the New Testament During the Easter Season],3.)

When the court officers had brought the Apostles In
and made them stand before the Sanhedrin,
the high priest questioned them,
"We gave you strict orders, [did we not?],
to stop teaching in that name.
Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching
and want to bring this man's Blood upon us."
But Peter and the Apostles said in reply,
"We must obey God rather than men.
The God of our ancestors raised Jesus,
though you had him killed by hanging him on a tree.
God exalted him at his right hand as leader and savior
to grant Israel repentance and forgiveness of sins.
We are witnesses of these things,
as is the Holy Spirit that God has given to those who obey him."

After recalling the Apostles, the Sanhedrin had them flogged,
ordered them to stop speaking in the name of Jesus,
and dismissed them.
So they left the presence of the Sanhedrin,
rejoicing that they had been found worthy
to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name.
And all day long, both at the temple and in their homes,
they did not stop teaching and proclaiming the Christ, Jesus.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Acts 5:27b-32, 40b-42

As in the previous case when they had cured the lame beggar, the Apostles (this time all of them, not just Peter and John) are brought before the Sanhedrin. It is interesting to see that the elders and scribes fear to speak the name of Jesus in these proceedings (“…stop teaching in that name”).

Peter now assumes his role as leader of the Apostles and again boldly professes his faith that Jesus, in whose name they speak and whose name the Sanhedrin fear to speak, is the Son of God (“We must obey God rather than man.”).

While we do not hear the rational from Gamaliel (Paul’s mentor) that killing the Apostles would not serve a useful purpose, we do hear that they are scourged.

Gamaliel was indeed wise, recognizing that, even before it formally existed, the blood of martyrs is seed for new members of the Church. Indeed, even persecution has a positive effect on the faith and fervor of the Apostles (“So they left the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name.”)

CCC: Acts 5:28 597; Acts 5:29 450, 2242, 2256; Acts 5:30 597; Acts 5:41 432
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Acts 5:27-33

#270 Weekday Years I & II Context (Thursday of the 2nd Week of Easter)

When the court officers had brought the Apostles in
and made them stand before the Sanhedrin,
the high priest questioned them,
"We gave you strict orders did we not,
to stop teaching in that name.
Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching
and want to bring this man's blood upon us."
But Peter and the Apostles said in reply,
"We must obey God rather than men.
The God of our ancestors raised Jesus,
though you had him killed by hanging him on a tree.
God exalted him at his right hand as leader and savior
to grant Israel repentance and forgiveness of sins.
We are witnesses of these things,
as is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him."

When they heard this,
they became infuriated and wanted to put them to death.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Acts 5:27-33

As in the previous case when they had cured the lame beggar, the Apostles (this time all of them, not just Peter and John) are brought before the Sanhedrin. It is interesting to see that the elders and scribes fear to speak the name of Jesus in these proceedings (“…stop teaching in that name”).

Peter now assumes his role as leader of the Apostles, and again boldly professes his faith that Jesus, in whose name they speak and whose name the Sanhedrin fear to speak, is the Son of God. (“We must obey God rather than man.”) The intent of the Sanhedrin at this point changes from telling the Apostles to stop spreading the cult of Jesus, to seeking their death in accordance with Mosaic Law on blasphemy (Deuteronomy 13:6-10). The Apostles seem to be following the path that their Savior had walked.

CCC: Acts 5:28 597; Acts 5:29 450, 2242, 2256; Acts 5:30 597
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Acts 5:34-42

#271 Weekday Years I & II Context (Friday of the 2nd Week of Easter)

A Pharisee in the Sanhedrin named Gamaliel,
a teacher of the law, respected by all the people,
stood up, ordered the Apostles to be put outside for a short time,
and said to the Sanhedrin, "Fellow children of Israel,
be careful what you are about to do to these men.
Some time ago, Theudas appeared, claiming to be someone important,
and about four hundred men joined him, but he was killed,
and all those who were loyal to him
were disbanded and came to nothing.
After him came Judas the Galilean at the time of the census.
He also drew people after him,
but he too perished and all who were loyal to him were scattered.
So now I tell you,
have nothing to do with these men, and let them go.
For if this endeavor or this activity is of human origin,
it will destroy itself.
But if it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them;
you may even find yourselves fighting against God."
They were persuaded by him.
After recalling the Apostles, they had them flogged,
ordered them to stop speaking in the name of Jesus,
and dismissed them.
So they left the presence of the Sanhedrin,
rejoicing that they had been found worthy
to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name.
And all day long, both at the temple and in their homes,
they did not stop teaching and proclaiming the Christ, Jesus.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Acts 5:34-42

This passage concludes the Apostles’ second confrontation with the Sanhedrin. Gamaliel (probably St. Paul’s mentor Acts 22:3), dissuades the Jewish leadership from killing the Apostles, to let them off with scourging (probably also at the hands of the same men who scourged the Lord). St. Luke records an enlightened view from the great Hebrew teacher. Having witnessed a number of false prophets rise and fall, he tells the Sanhedrin that “... if this endeavor or this activity is of human origin, it will destroy itself. But if it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them.

Gamaliel was indeed wise, recognizing that, even before it formally existed, the blood of martyrs is the seed for new members of the Church. Even persecution has a positive effect on the faith and fervor of the Apostles. (“So they left the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name.”)

CCC: Acts 5:41 432
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Acts 6:1-7

#52A Solemnities A Context (5th Sunday of Easter A)

#272 Weekday Years I & II Context (Saturday of the Second Week of Easter)

As the number of disciples continued to grow,
the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews
because their widows
were being neglected in the daily distribution.
So the Twelve called together the community of the disciples and said,
“It is not right for us to neglect the word of God to serve at table.
Brothers, select from among you seven reputable men,
filled with the Spirit and wisdom,
whom we shall appoint to this task,
whereas we shall devote ourselves to prayer
and to the ministry of the word.”
The proposal was acceptable to the whole community,
so they chose Stephen, a man filled with faith and the Holy Spirit,
also Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas,
and Nicholas of Antioch, a convert to Judaism.
They presented these men to the Apostles
who prayed and laid hands on them.
The word of God continued to spread,
and the number of the disciples in Jerusalem increased greatly;
even a large group of priests were becoming obedient to the faith.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Acts 6:1-7

This account from Acts is considered to be the institution of the diaconate or the Order of Deacons. There is a clear delineation of roles. The Apostles retain their pastoral role as shepherds of the faith (through “prayer and ministry of the word”), while assigning the service role (distribution of food and material to the needy) to Stephen and his six brother deacons. It is noteworthy to observe that Stephen and Philip especially began their own service of the word as well, but in an evangelical rather than liturgical way.

Understanding the roots of the imposition of hands is key to understanding the rationale for its use as an ordaining function. While this was a Hebrew tradition for designating a person for a task, it was later adopted by the Church as a mark of ordination and sacramental selection by God. ("From that time on the apostles, in fulfillment of Christ's will, imparted to the newly baptized by the laying on of hands the gift of the Spirit that completes the grace of Baptism.”[1])

CCC: Acts 6:6 2632; Acts 6:7 595, 1569
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Acts 6:1-7b

#771 Ritual Mass Context (II. For the Conferral of Holy Orders. 1. [for Deacons] )

As the number of disciples continued to grow,
the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews
because their widows
were being neglected in the daily distribution.
So the Twelve called together the community of the disciples and said,
“It is not right for us to neglect the word of God to serve at table.
Brothers, select from among you seven reputable men,
filled with the Spirit and wisdom,
whom we shall appoint to this task,
whereas we shall devote ourselves to prayer
and to the ministry of the word.”
The proposal was acceptable to the whole community,
so they chose Stephen, a man filled with faith and the Holy Spirit,
also Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas,
and Nicholas of Antioch, a convert to Judaism.
They presented these men to the Apostles
who prayed and laid hands on them.
The word of God continued to spread,
and the number of the disciples in Jerusalem increased greatly;

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Acts 6:1-7b

This account from Acts is considered to be the institution of the diaconate or the Order of Deacons.  There is a clear delineation of roles. The Apostles retain their pastoral role as shepherds of the faith (through “prayer and ministry of the word.”) while assigning the service role (distribution of food and material to the needy) to Stephen and his six brother deacons. It is noteworthy to observe that Stephen and Philip especially began their own service of the word as well but in an evangelical rather than liturgical way.

Understanding the roots of the imposition of hands is key to understanding the rationale for its use in the ordained function. While this was a Hebrew tradition for designating a person for a task, it was later adopted by the Church as a mark of ordination and sacramental selection by God ("From that time on the apostles, in fulfillment of Christ's will, imparted to the newly baptized by the laying on of hands the gift of the Spirit that completes the grace of Baptism.”[1]).

Acts 6:6 2632; Acts 6:7 595, 1569
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Acts 6:8-10; 7:54-59

#696 Proper of Saints Context (Feast of St. Stephen, Dec 26)

Now Stephen, filled with grace and power,
was working great wonders and signs among the people.
Certain members of the so-called Synagogue of Freedmen,
Cyrenians, and Alexandrians,
and people from Cilicia and Asia,
came forward and debated with Stephen,
but they could not withstand the wisdom and the spirit with which he spoke.

When they heard this, they were infuriated,
and they ground their teeth at him.
But he, filled with the Holy Spirit,
looked up intently to heaven
and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God,
and he said,
“Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man
standing at the right hand of God.”
But they cried out in a loud voice, covered their ears,
and rushed upon him together.
They threw him out of the city, and began to stone him.
The witnesses laid down their cloaks
at the feet of a young man named Saul.
As they were stoning Stephen, he called out
“Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
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Commentary on Acts 6:8-10; 7:54-59

The Evangelist tells the story of how St. Stephen, one of the first Deacons selected by the Apostles, was martyred. It is interesting to note that the "Saul," at whose feet the cloaks were laid, is our own St. Paul, who before his conversion was a talented prosecutor of Christians.

"'It is clear', St. Ephraem comments, 'that those who suffer for Christ enjoy the glory of the whole Trinity. Stephen saw the Father and Jesus at His side, because Jesus appears only to his own, as was the case with the Apostles after the Resurrection. While the champion of the faith stood there helpless in the midst of those who had killed the Lord, just at the point when the first martyr was to be crowned, he saw the Lord, holding a crown in His right hand, as if to encourage him to conquer death and to show that he inwardly helps those who are about to die on his account. He therefore reveals what he sees, that is, the heavens opened, which were closed to Adam and only opened to Christ at the Jordan, but open now after the Cross to all who share Christ's sufferings, and in the first instance open to this man. See how Stephen reveals why his face was lit up: it was because he was on the point of contemplating this wondrous mission. That is why he took on the appearance of an angel--so that his testimony might be more reliable, (Armenian Commentary, ad loc.)." [4]

CCC: Acts 7:56 659
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Acts 6:8-15

#273 Weekday Years I & II Context (Monday of the 3rd Week of Easter)

Stephen, filled with grace and power,
was working great wonders and signs among the people.
Certain members of the so-called Synagogue of Freedmen,
Cyreneans, and Alexandrians,
and people from Cilicia and Asia,
came forward and debated with Stephen,
but they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he spoke.
Then they instigated some men to say,
"We have heard him speaking blasphemous words
against Moses and God."
They stirred up the people, the elders, and the scribes,
accosted him, seized him,
and brought him before the Sanhedrin.
They presented false witnesses who testified,
"This man never stops saying things against this holy place and the law.
For we have heard him claim
that this Jesus the Nazorean will destroy this place
and change the customs that Moses handed down to us."
All those who sat in the Sanhedrin looked intently at him
and saw that his face was like the face of an angel.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Acts 6:8-15

The first deacon, St. Stephen, through his zeal had angered the Jewish community in Jerusalem (as if the Apostles were not enough). The witnesses testified that Stephen placed Jesus above Moses which was, in fact, true and there would have been no defense possible. There were two other charges: Stephen also disputed the centrality of the Temple (“…saying things against this holy place “), including its destruction. He also reminded them that through Jesus’ revelation, Mosaic customs would be transformed. With the introduction of false witnesses, St. Luke draws a parallel between St. Stephen and the fate of Jesus in the hands of the Sanhedrin.

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Acts 7:44-50

#702 Commons Context (The Common of the Anniversary of the Dedication of a Church)

Stephen said to the people, the elders and the scribes:
"Our ancestors had the tent of testimony in the desert
just as the One who spoke to Moses directed him
to make it according to the pattern he had seen.
Our ancestors who inherited it
brought it with Joshua when they dispossessed the nations
that God drove out from before our ancestors,
up to the time of David,
who found favor in the sight of God
and asked that he might find a dwelling place
for the house of Jacob.
But Solomon built a house for him.
Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made by human hands.
As the prophet says:
The heavens are my throne,
the earth is my Footstool.
What kind of house can you build for me?
says the Lord,
or what is to be my resting place?
Did not my hand make all these things?"
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Acts 7:44-50

This part of St. Stephen’s Discourse deals with the historical belief by the Jewish peoples in God’s presence in a special place. In Exodus 25; 8-9 the “Tent of Testimony” is constructed at Joshua’s instructions according to a heavenly pattern as a place where God may hear from the people of God. This nomadic aid was later replaced by Solomon who built the first permanent site (see 2 Chronicles 5ff). The Deacon refutes the idea that God must only be present to the people in one place but points a spiritual omnipresence where the faithful my enjoy his favor.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Acts 7:51—8:1a

#274 Weekday Years I & II Context (Tuesday of the 3rd Week of Easter)

Stephen said to the people, the elders, and the scribes:
"You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears,
you always oppose the Holy Spirit;
you are just like your ancestors.
Which of the prophets did your ancestors not persecute?
They put to death those who foretold the coming of the righteous one,
whose betrayers and murderers you have now become.
You received the law as transmitted by angels,
but you did not observe it."

When they heard this, they were infuriated,
and they ground their teeth at him.
But Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit,
looked up intently to heaven and saw the glory of God
and Jesus standing at the right hand of God,
and Stephen said, "Behold, I see the heavens opened
and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God."
But they cried out in a loud voice,
covered their ears, and rushed upon him together.
They threw him out of the city, and began to stone him.
The witnesses laid down their cloaks
at the feet of a young man named Saul.
As they were stoning Stephen, he called out,
"Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."
Then he fell to his knees and cried out in a loud voice,
"Lord, do not hold this sin against them";
and when he said this, he fell asleep.

Now Saul was consenting to his execution.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Acts 7:51—8:1a

St. Stephen is martyred for proclaiming Jesus Christ as God, which is considered blasphemy by the Sanhedrin. He is the first Christian martyr, stoned outside of Jerusalem with the consent of one of the representatives of the Sanhedrin (“The witnesses laid down their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Saul”) whom we know later is named St. Paul.

We note how St. Luke draws a parallel between the martyrdom of Stephen and the death of Jesus.  Both asked the Father to forgive their persecutors in their last moments (see Luke 23:34), and both called out to God to receive their spirit (see Luke 23:46).

CCC: Acts 7:52 597, 601; Acts 7:53 332; Acts 7:56 659; Acts 7:60 2635
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Acts 7:55-60

#61C Solemnities C Context (7th Sunday of Easter C)

#714 Commons Context (Common of Martyrs, First Option)

#959 Mass for Various Needs Context (IV. For Various Needs, 30 For Our Oppressors, First Option)

Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit,
looked up intently to heaven and saw the glory of God
and Jesus standing at the right hand of God,
and Stephen said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened
and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
But they cried out in a loud voice,
covered their ears, and rushed upon him together.
They threw him out of the city, and began to stone him.
The witnesses laid down their cloaks
at the feet of a young man named Saul.
As they were stoning Stephen, he called out,
“Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
Then he fell to his knees and cried out in a loud voice,
“Lord, do not hold this sin against them;”
and when he said this, he fell asleep.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Acts 7:55-60

St. Stephen is martyred for proclaiming Jesus Christ risen. He is the first Christian martyr, stoned outside of Jerusalem with the consent of one of the representatives of the Sanhedrin (“The witnesses laid down their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Saul.”) who we know later became St. Paul.

We note how St. Luke draws a parallel between the martyrdom of Stephen and the death of Jesus.  Both asked the Father to forgive their persecutors in their last moments (see Luke 23:34) and both called out to God to receive their spirits (see Luke 23:46).

CCC: Acts 7:56 659; Acts 7:60 2635
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Acts 8:1b-8

#275 Weekday Years I & II Context (Wednesday of the 3rd Week of Easter)

There broke out a severe persecution of the Church in Jerusalem,
and all were scattered
throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria,
except the Apostles.
Devout men buried Stephen and made a loud lament over him.
Saul, meanwhile, was trying to destroy the Church;
entering house after house and dragging out men and women,
he handed them over for imprisonment.

Now those who had been scattered went about preaching the word.
Thus Philip went down to the city of Samaria
and proclaimed the Christ to them.
With one accord, the crowds paid attention to what was said by Philip
when they heard it and saw the signs he was doing.
For unclean spirits, crying out in a loud voice,
came out of many possessed people,
and many paralyzed and crippled people were cured.
There was great joy in that city.
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Commentary on Acts 8:1b-8

This selection describes the first concerted effort to eradicate Christianity.  Following the death of St. Stephen, we are told that: all were scattered […] except the Apostles.” This is pointed at by many scholars as implying that it was the Hellenists (Greek) Jews only who were scattered (recall that St. Stephen and the other deacons were appointed to minister to that community). It was St. Stephen who had enraged the Sanhedrin and was buried in this passage.

As the main force in this persecution, Saul (later St. Paul) clearly sees the threat by Christianity to the Jewish tradition that has evolved.  He leads the persecution of the Church which has the unintended effect of spreading the Good News outside of the Jewish community in Jerusalem.  As if providing an example, St. Luke tells the story of St. Philip who takes the Gospel of Christ to Samaria with good results.

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Acts 8:1, 4, 14-17

#765 Ritual Mass Context (I. For the Conferral of Christian Initiation, 4. Confirmation, 3.)

On that day, there broke out a severe persecution
  of the Church in Jerusalem,
  and all were scattered throughout the countryside
  of Judea and Samaria, except the Apostles.

Those who had been scattered went about preaching the word.

When the Apostles in Jerusalem
  heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God,
  they sent them Peter and John,
  who went down and prayed for them,
  that they might receive the Holy Spirit,
  for he had not yet fallen upon any of them;
  they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Then they laid hands on them
  and they received the Holy Spirit.
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Commentary on Acts 8:1, 4, 14-17

This selection describes the first concerted effort to eradicate Christianity. Following the death of St. Stephen, we are told that “all were scattered […] except the Apostles.” This is pointed at by many scholars as implying that it was the Hellenists (Greek) Jews only who were scattered.

This exodus of Christians into the surrounding territories had the unintended effect of spreading the Christian faith more rapidly than it may otherwise have moved.  This new development causes Peter and John to go out and, as the passage concludes, bring the first non-Jews into the Christian faith.

"A distinction is made in Acts between Baptism, which confers the Spirit in an invisible way (Acts 2:38), and the laying on of hands which calls down the Spirit to manifest his presence in a visible and charismatic way (Acts 19:6).  In the interpretive tradition of the Church, this deeper conferral of the Spirit through the imposition of hands is linked with Confirmation, a sacrament that follows Baptism and is integral to the process of Christian initiation."[10]

CCC: Acts 8:9-24 2121; Acts 8:12-13 1226; Acts 8:14-17 1315
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Acts 8:5-8, 14-17

#55A Solemnities A Context (6th Sunday of Easter)

Philip went down to the city of Samaria
and proclaimed the Christ to them.
With one accord, the crowds paid attention to what was said by Philip
when they heard it and saw the signs he was doing.
For unclean spirits, crying out in a loud voice,
came out of many possessed people,
and many paralyzed or crippled people were cured.
There was great joy in that city.

Now when the apostles in Jerusalem
heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God,
they sent them Peter and John,
who went down and prayed for them,
that they might receive the Holy Spirit,
for it had not yet fallen upon any of them;
they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Then they laid hands on them
and they received the Holy Spirit.
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Commentary on Acts 8:5-8, 14-17

St. Philip begins his missionary activities immediately following the death of St. Stephen. We hear many of the Hellenists were scattered following the deacon’s witness against the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem. St. Philip goes with them into Samaria and proclaims the arrival of the Messiah in Christ. The Word is spreading, ironically because of the persecution of Christians by Saul.

We note the omission of verses 9-13. This passage speaks of the conversion of Simon the magician which was important for the community in that it differentiated the signs being done by the Apostles from illusions being done by those believed to be sorcerers by the local inhabitants of the region. This important distinction is qualified in Acts 8; 6-7: “With one accord, the crowds paid attention to what was said by Philip when they heard it and saw the signs he was doing.

CCC: Acts 8:9-24 2121; Acts 8:12-13 1226; Acts 8:14-17 1315; Acts 8:15-17 1288; Acts 8:17-19 699
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Acts 8:26-40

#276 Weekday Years I & II Context (Thursday of the 3rd Week of Easter)

#771 Ritual Mass Context (II. For the Conferral of Holy Orders, 2. [For Deacons])

The angel of the Lord spoke to Philip,
"Get up and head south on the road
that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza, the desert route."
So he got up and set out.
Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch,
a court official of the Candace,
that is, the queen of the Ethiopians,
in charge of her entire treasury,
who had come to Jerusalem to worship, and was returning home.
Seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah.
The Spirit said to Philip,
"Go and join up with that chariot."
Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and said,
"Do you understand what you are reading?"
He replied,
"How can I, unless someone instructs me?"
So he invited Philip to get in and sit with him.
This was the Scripture passage he was reading:

Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter,
and as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.
In his humiliation justice was denied him.
Who will tell of his posterity?
For his life is taken from the earth.


Then the eunuch said to Philip in reply,
"I beg you, about whom is the prophet saying this?
About himself, or about someone else?"
Then Philip opened his mouth and, beginning with this Scripture passage,
he proclaimed Jesus to him.
As they traveled along the road
they came to some water,
and the eunuch said, "Look, there is water.
What is to prevent my being baptized?"
Then he ordered the chariot to stop,
and Philip and the eunuch both went down into the water,
and he baptized him.
When they came out of the water,
the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away,
and the eunuch saw him no more,
but continued on his way rejoicing.
Philip came to Azotus, and went about proclaiming the good news
to all the towns until he reached Caesarea.
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Commentary on Acts 8:26-40

In this story of Philip’s conversion of the eunuch, we are given a strong mystical nudge; first when Philip is instructed by an angel to leave on the trip, and again with his disappearance after the baptism of the eunuch.

Even as Philip approaches the eunuch he finds the process of conversion is set in motion through the oracle of Isaiah 53:7ff.  We are told Philip, when asked about the passage from the "Suffering Servant" oracle, proclaims Christ crucified, the truth of which completes the conversion process and the eunuch requests baptism.  His work of proclamation of the Gospel completed, Philip is "snatched " away to continue spreading the good news in Caesarea.

If we read this passage in context with verse numbers, we find v. 37 is not present in either the New American or the Jerusalem Bibles. That is because, in the oldest and best manuscripts, it was not present. But, for our benefit, v. 37 said, responding to the eunuch’s request for baptism: "And Philip said, 'If you believe with all your heart, you may.' And he said in reply, 'I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.'"In modern texts it is omitted as probably a later addition by some early Christian redactor.

CCC: Acts 8:26-29 334; Acts 8:32-35 601; Acts 8:37 454
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Acts 8:26-38

#752 Ritual Mass Context (I. For the Conferral of Christian Initiation,1. Catechumenate and Christian Initiation of Adults, Christian Initiation Apart From the Easter Vigil, 2)

The angel of the Lord spoke to Philip,
"Get up and head south on the road
that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza, the desert route."
So he got up and set out.
Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch,
a court official of the Candace,
that is, the queen of the Ethiopians,
in charge of her entire treasury,
who had come to Jerusalem to worship, and was returning home.
Seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah.
The Spirit said to Philip,
"Go and join up with that chariot."
Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and said,
"Do you understand what you are reading?"
He replied,
"How can I, unless someone instructs me?"
So he invited Philip to get in and sit with him.
This was the Scripture passage he was reading:

Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter,
and as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.
In his humiliation justice was denied him.
Who will tell of his posterity?
For his life is taken from the earth.


Then the eunuch said to Philip in reply,
"I beg you, about whom is the prophet saying this?
About himself, or about someone else?"
Then Philip opened his mouth and, beginning with this Scripture passage,
he proclaimed Jesus to him.
As they traveled along the road
they came to some water,
and the eunuch said, "Look, there is water.
What is to prevent my being baptized?"
Then he ordered the chariot to stop,
and Philip and the eunuch both went down into the water,
and he baptized him.

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Commentary on Acts 8:26-38

In this story of Philip’s conversion of the eunuch we are given a strong mystical nudge. First when Philip is instructed by an angle to leave on the trip and again with is disappearance after the baptism of the eunuch.

If we read this passage in context with verse numbers we find verse 37 is not present in either the NAB or the Jerusalem Bibles. That is because in the oldest and best manuscripts it was not present. But, for our benefit verse 37 said responding to the eunuch’s request for baptism; "And Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may.' And he said in reply, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.' "In modern texts it is omitted as probably a latter addition by some early Christian redactor.

CCC: Acts 8:26-29 334; Acts 8:32-35 601; Acts 8:37 454
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Acts 9:1-22

#519 Proper of Saints Context (Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, Jan 25)

Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord,
went to the high priest and asked him
for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, that,
if he should find any men or women who belonged to the Way,
he might bring them back to Jerusalem in chains.
On his journey, as he was nearing Damascus,
a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him.
He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him,
“Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”
He said, “Who are you, sir?”
The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.
Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do.”
The men who were traveling with him stood speechless,
for they heard the voice but could see no one.
Saul got up from the ground,
but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing;
so they led him by the hand and brought him to Damascus.
For three days he was unable to see, and he neither ate nor drank.

There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias,
and the Lord said to him in a vision, AAnanias.”
He answered, “Here I am, Lord.”
The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight
and ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul.
He is there praying,
and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias
come in and lay his hands on him,
that he may regain his sight.”
But Ananias replied,
“Lord, I have heard from many sources about this man,
what evil things he has done to your holy ones in Jerusalem.
And here he has authority from the chief priests
to imprison all who call upon your name.”
But the Lord said to him,
“Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of mine
to carry my name before Gentiles, kings, and children of Israel,
and I will show him what he will have to suffer for my name.”
So Ananias went and entered the house;
laying his hands on him, he said,
“Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me,
Jesus who appeared to you on the way by which you came,
that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Immediately things like scales fell from his eyes
and he regained his sight.
He got up and was baptized,
and when he had eaten, he recovered his strength.

He stayed some days with the disciples in Damascus,
and he began at once to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues,
that he is the Son of God.
All who heard him were astounded and said,
“Is not this the man who in Jerusalem
ravaged those who call upon this name,
and came here expressly to take them back in chains
to the chief priests?”
But Saul grew all the stronger
and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus,
proving that this is the Christ.
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Commentary on Acts 9:1-22

This selection is the first the three accounts of Paul’s conversion. In this passage we are given more details about the events leading up to Saul’s actual experience, adding the mind set of Ananias and his fear of approaching Saul because of his reputation. We are also given a little Hebrew numerology as we hear that Saul neither ate nor drank for three days prior to his conversion, the same period Jesus was in the Tomb.

According to these accounts, Saul, the enforcer of the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem, was an involuntary convert, a person of zeal and energy that the Lord turned, as scripture says, into God’s instrument. Although it is only St. Luke that gives Saul the title “Apostle” twice (Acts 14: 414), this passage provides a parallel to the call of the others; Paul sees the Kyrios, the risen Lord, he is called, he is given the gift of the Holy Spirit, and he proclaims Christ crucified.

CCC: Acts 9:3-18 639; Acts 9:4-5 598; Acts 9:13 823; Acts 9:14 432; Acts 9:20 442
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Acts 9:1-20

#277 Weekday Years I & II Context (Friday of the 3rd Week of Easter)

Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord,
went to the high priest and asked him
for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, that,
if he should find any men or women who belonged to the Way,
he might bring them back to Jerusalem in chains.
On his journey, as he was nearing Damascus,
a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him.
He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him,
"Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?"
He said, "Who are you, sir?"
The reply came, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.
Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do."
The men who were traveling with him stood speechless,
for they heard the voice but could see no one.
Saul got up from the ground,
but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing;
so they led him by the hand and brought him to Damascus.
For three days he was unable to see, and he neither ate nor drank.

There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias,
and the Lord said to him in a vision, "Ananias."
He answered, "Here I am, Lord."
The Lord said to him, "Get up and go to the street called Straight
and ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul.
He is there praying,
and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias
come in and lay his hands on him,
that he may regain his sight."
But Ananias replied,
"Lord, I have heard from many sources about this man,
what evil things he has done to your holy ones in Jerusalem.
And here he has authority from the chief priests
to imprison all who call upon your name."
But the Lord said to him,
"Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of mine
to carry my name before Gentiles, kings, and children of Israel,
and I will show him what he will have to suffer for my name."
So Ananias went and entered the house;
laying his hands on him, he said,
"Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me,
Jesus who appeared to you on the way by which you came,
that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit."
Immediately things like scales fell from his eyes
and he regained his sight.
He got up and was baptized,
and when he had eaten, he recovered his strength.

He stayed some days with the disciples in Damascus,
and he began at once to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues,
that he is the Son of God.
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Commentary on Acts 9:1-20

This is the first of three accounts of the conversion of Saul of Tarsus, the hero of the second half of Acts of the Apostles, written by St. Luke (see also Acts 22:1-16 and 26:9-18). With the topic of evangelization of the world already initiated with the story of Philip and the eunuch, St. Luke now focuses on evangelization of the gentiles.

According to these accounts, Saul, the enforcer of the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem, was an involuntary convert. He was a person of zeal and energy that the Lord turned, as scripture says, into God’s instrument. Although St. Luke only gives Saul the title “Apostle” twice (Acts 14: 4; 14), this passage provides a parallel. Paul sees the Kyrios – the risen Lord; he is called, he is given the gift of the Holy Spirit, and he proclaims Christ crucified.

CCC: Acts 9:3-18 639; Acts 9:4-5 598; Acts 9:13 823; Acts 9:14 432; Acts 9:20 442
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Acts 9:26-31

#53B Solemnities B Context (5th Sunday of Easter B)

When Saul arrived in Jerusalem he tried to join the disciples,
but they were all afraid of him,
not believing that he was a disciple.
Then Barnabas took charge of him and brought him to the apostles,
and he reported to them how he had seen the Lord,
and that he had spoken to him,
and how in Damascus he had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus.
He moved about freely with them in Jerusalem,
and spoke out boldly in the name of the Lord.
He also spoke and debated with the Hellenists,
but they tried to kill him.
And when the brothers learned of this,
they took him down to Caesarea
and sent him on his way to Tarsus.

The church throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria was at peace.
It was being built up and walked in the fear of the Lord,
and with the consolation of the Holy Spirit it grew in numbers
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Commentary on Acts 9:26-31

This story of St. Paul’s return to Jerusalem, the first of six mentioned in Acts, follows the first account of “Saul’s” conversion. It is the same visit mentioned in Galatians 1:18. We see how the news of his arrival is seen with alarm by the Apostolic College who only meets with him after Barnabas intercedes for him. Even at this early stage, St. Paul’s focus on the Jews who were not from the region (“He also spoke and debated with the Hellenists …”).

St. Paul’s bold preaching earns him the same enmity he had earlier in the same chapter developed in Damascus and he is forced to leave into Galilee headed for his place of birth, Tarsus. St. Luke concludes this episode saying that the newly formed Church was at peace and growing thanks to the efforts of the community

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Acts 9:31-42

#278 Weekday Years I & II Context (Saturday of the 3rd Week of Easter)

The Church throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria
was at peace.
She was being built up and walked in the fear of the Lord,
and with the consolation of the Holy Spirit she grew in numbers.

As Peter was passing through every region,
he went down to the holy ones living in Lydda.
There he found a man named Aeneas,
who had been confined to bed for eight years, for he was paralyzed.
Peter said to him,
"Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and make your bed."
He got up at once.
And all the inhabitants of Lydda and Sharon saw him,
and they turned to the Lord.

Now in Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha
(which translated is Dorcas).
She was completely occupied with good deeds and almsgiving.
Now during those days she fell sick and died,
so after washing her, they laid her out in a room upstairs.
Since Lydda was near Joppa,
the disciples, hearing that Peter was there,
sent two men to him with the request,
"Please come to us without delay."
So Peter got up and went with them.
When he arrived, they took him to the room upstairs
where all the widows came to him weeping
and showing him the tunics and cloaks
that Dorcas had made while she was with them.
Peter sent them all out and knelt down and prayed.
Then he turned to her body and said, "Tabitha, rise up."
She opened her eyes, saw Peter, and sat up.
He gave her his hand and raised her up,
and when he had called the holy ones and the widows,
he presented her alive.
This became known all over Joppa,
and many came to believe in the Lord.
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Commentary on Acts 9:31-42

The Church is at peace following Paul’s conversion, and the cessation of persecution by the Sanhedrin’s main enforcer. Peter now demonstrates, through miraculous healings, that the authority of Christ over illness and death has been passed on to the Apostles. In both situations, the cure of the paralytic (Aeneas), and the raising of Tabitha from the dead, the actions were taken not to increase the reputation of Peter, but to bring people to belief in Christ; an objective accomplished according to Luke’s account of the events.

CCC: Acts 9:34 1507
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Acts 10:1, 33-34a, 37-44

#765 Ritual Mass Context (I. For the Conferral of Christian Initiation, 4. Confirmation, 4.)

In Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius,
  a centurion of the Cohort called the Italica.

Cornelius said to Peter:
  "I sent for you immediately,
  and you were kind enough to come.
Now therefore we are all here in the presence of God
  to listen to all that you have been commanded by the Lord."

Then Peter proceeded to speak and said,
  "You know what has happened all over Judea,
  beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached,
  how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth
  with the Holy Spirit and power.

He went about doing good
  and healing all those oppressed by the Devil,
  for God was with him.
We are witnesses of all that he did
  both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem.
They put him to death by hanging him on a tree.
This man God raised on the third day and granted that he be visible,
  not to all the people, but to us,
  the witnesses chosen by God in advance,
  who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.
He commissioned us to preach to the people
  and testify that he is the one appointed by God
  as judge of the living and the dead.
To him all the prophets bear witness,
  that everyone who believes in him
  will receive forgiveness of sins through his name."

While Peter was still speaking these things,
   the Holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening to the word.
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Commentary on Acts 10:1, 33-34a, 37-44

This is part of Peter’s speech to the Cornelius the Apostle launches into the Good News which he starts with a description of the Baptism of the Lord ( Acts 10:34-38).  His discourse continues, recounting the life and works of Jesus.  He concludes with the details of the resurrection of the Lord and how all who believe in him will be saved through the forgiveness of their sins. Even as he recounted this, the Holy Spirit descends upon those gathered and Peter has the entire household baptized.

CCC: Acts 10:35 761; Acts 10:38 438, 453, 486, 1289; Acts 10:39 597; Acts 10:41 659, 995; Acts 10:42 679
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Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48

#56B Solemnities B Context (6th Sunday of Easter B)

When Peter entered, Cornelius met him
and, falling at his feet, paid him homage.
Peter, however, raised him up, saying,
"Get up. I myself am also a human being."

Then Peter proceeded to speak and said,
"In truth, I see that God shows no partiality.
Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly
is acceptable to him."

While Peter was still speaking these things,
the Holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening to the word.
The circumcised believers who had accompanied Peter
were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit
should have been poured out on the Gentiles also,
for they could hear them speaking in tongues and glorifying God.
Then Peter responded,
"Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people,
who have received the Holy Spirit even as we have?"
He ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.
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Commentary on Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48

This is part of Peter’s speech to the Cornelius and his family (Gentiles). He is sounding very much like Paul, saying that God is for every one not just the Israelites. He then launches into the Good News which he starts with a description of the Baptism of the Lord ( Acts 10:34-38) and how the Holy Spirit descended. Even as he recounted this, the Holy Spirit descends upon those gathered and Peter has the entire household baptized.

CCC: Acts 10:35 761; Acts 10:48 1226
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Acts 10:34-43*

#970 Votive Mass Context (Mystery of the Holy Cross, First Option)

#1012 Masses for the Dead Context (During the Easter Season, 1. [Shorter Form offered])

Peter proceeded to speak to those gathered
in the house of Cornelius, saying:
“In truth, I see that God shows no partiality.
Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly
is acceptable to him.
You know the word that he sent to the Israelites
as he proclaimed peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all,
what has happened all over Judea,
beginning in Galilee after the baptism
that John preached,
how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth
with the Holy Spirit and power.
He went about doing good
and healing all those oppressed by the devil,
for God was with him.”

We are witnesses of all that he did
both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem.
They put him to death by hanging him on a tree.
This man God raised on the third day and granted that he be visible,
not to all the people, but to us,
the witnesses chosen by God in advance,
who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.
He commissioned us to preach to the people
and testify that he is the one appointed by God
as judge of the living and the dead.
To him all the prophets bear witness,
that everyone who believes in him
will receive forgiveness of sins through his name.”
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Acts 10:34-43

In this selection from Acts, Peter is speaking in the house of Cornelius following the vision he was given showing him that nothing God created should be considered profane. This was pondered by Peter because it challenged the precepts of Jewish dietary laws and laws forbidding contact with Gentiles at certain times; saying that God is for every one not just the Israelites. He then launches into the Good News which he starts with a description of the Baptism of the Lord and how the Holy Spirit descended, following that with his mission to reveal God’s love in his healing ministry. Peter assumes the people know what has happened – namely that Jesus who was thought to be the Messiah, had proven that fact in the resurrection. Now he reminds them, before the creed was written, that Christ will come again to judge the living and the dead.

CCC: Acts 10:35 761; Acts 10:38 438, 453, 486, 1289; Acts 10:39 597; Acts 10:41 659, 995; Acts 10:42 679
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Or Shorter Form (Masses for the Dead only)
Acts 10:34-36, 42-43

Peter proceeded to speak to those gathered
in the house of Cornelius, saying:
“In truth, I see that God shows no partiality.
Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly
is acceptable to him.
You know the word that he sent to the Israelites
as he proclaimed peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.

He commissioned us to preach to the people
and testify that he is the one appointed by God
as judge of the living and the dead.
To him all the prophets bear witness,
that everyone who believes in him
will receive forgiveness of sins through his name.”
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Acts 10:34-36, 42-43

In this shorter form from Acts, Peter is speaking in the house of Cornelius focuses on the universal nature of Christ's invitation to God's adoption. A persons actions, in keeping with Christ's command rather than Hebrew practice will identify them as belonging to the Lord.  He then launches into the Good News which he starts with a description of the Baptism of the Lord and how the Holy Spirit descended, following that with his mission to reveal God’s love in his healing ministry.Peter assumes the people know what has happened – namely that Jesus who was thought to be the Messiah, had proven that fact in the resurrection. Now he reminds them, before the creed was written, that Christ will come again to judge the living and the dead.

CCC: Acts 10:35 761; Acts 10:38 438, 453, 486, 1289; Acts 10:39 597; Acts 10:41 659, 995; Acts 10:42 679
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Acts 10:34-38

#21A Solemnities A Context (Baptism of the Lord A)

#21B Solemnities B Context (Baptism of the Lord B)

#21C Solemnities C Context (Baptism of the Lord C)

Peter proceeded to speak to those gathered
in the house of Cornelius, saying:
“In truth, I see that God shows no partiality.
Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly
is acceptable to him.
You know the word that he sent to the Israelites
as he proclaimed peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all,
what has happened all over Judea,
beginning in Galilee after the baptism
that John preached,
how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth
with the Holy Spirit and power.
He went about doing good
and healing all those oppressed by the devil,
for God was with him.”
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Commentary on Acts 10:34-38

In this selection from Acts, Peter is speaking in the house of Cornelius following the vision he was given showing him that nothing God created should be considered profane. This was pondered by Peter because it challenged the precepts of Jewish dietary laws and laws forbidding contact with Gentiles at certain times. It expands the invitation to salvation saying that God is for everyone, not just the Israelites. He then launches into the Good News which he starts with a description of the Baptism of the Lord and how the Holy Spirit descended.  The passage concludes with Peter saying his mission is to reveal God’s love in his healing ministry.

CCC: Acts 10:35 761; Acts 10:38 438, 453, 486, 1289
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Acts 10:34a, 37-43

#42A Solemnities A Context (The Mass of Easter Day A)

#42B Solemnities B Context (The Mass of Easter Day B)

#42C Solemnities C Context (The Mass of Easter Day C)

#786 Ritual Mass Context (IV. For the Conferral of Ministries, 2. Institution of Acolytes, 2.)

#977 Votive Mass Context (The Most Holy Eucharist [During the Season of Easter], Second Option)

Peter proceeded to speak and said:
“You know what has happened all over Judea,
beginning in Galilee after the baptism
that John preached,
how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth
with the Holy Spirit and power.
He went about doing good
and healing all those oppressed by the devil,
for God was with him.
We are witnesses of all that he did
both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem.
They put him to death by hanging him on a tree.
This man God raised on the third day and granted that he be visible,
not to all the people, but to us,
the witnesses chosen by God in advance,
who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.
He commissioned us to preach to the people
and testify that he is the one appointed by God
as judge of the living and the dead.
To him all the prophets bear witness,
that everyone who believes in him
will receive forgiveness of sins through his name.”
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Acts 10:34a, 37-43

This is part of Peter’s speech to Cornelius and his family (Gentiles). Peter (according to St. Luke) assumes the people know what has happened – namely that Jesus who was thought to be the Messiah, had proven that fact in the resurrection. Now he reminds them, before the creed was written, that Christ will come again to judge the living and the dead.

He goes further, explaining that his Apostles are also called to spread that word through preaching: to take what they have been given, the Good News of Christ and him crucified, into the world.  This call, St. Peter explains, is so all peoples might come to know and understand that God has fulfilled the promise he made through the prophets by providing a sacrifice of atonement, his Only Begotten Son Jesus, and that belief in him will lead to reconciliation to the Father through the forgiveness of sins.

CCC: Acts 10:38 438, 453, 486, 1289; Acts 10:39 597; Acts 10:41 659, 995; Acts 10:42 679
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Acts 10:37-43

#771 Ritual Mass Context (II. For the Conferral of Holy Orders, 3.)

Peter proceeded to speak and said:
"You know what has happened all over Judea,
  beginning in Galilee after the baptism
  that John preached,
  how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth
  with the Holy Spirit and power.
He went about doing good
  and healing all those oppressed by the Devil,
  for God was with him.
We are witnesses of all that he did
  both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem.
They put him to death by hanging him on a tree.
This man God raised on the third day and granted that he be visible,
  not to all the people, but to us,
  the witnesses chosen by God in advance,
  who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.
He commissioned us to preach to the people
  and testify that he is the one appointed by God
  as judge of the living and the dead.
To him all the prophets bear witness,
   that everyone who believes in him
   will receive forgiveness of sins through his name."
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Acts 10:37-43

This is part of Peter’s speech to the Cornelius and his family (Gentiles). Peter (according to St. Luke) assumes the people know what has happened – namely that Jesus who was thought to be the Messiah, had proven that fact in the resurrection. Now he reminds them, before the creed was written that Christ will come again to judge the living and the dead.

He goes further, explaining that his Apostles are also called to spread that word through preaching.  To take what they have been given, the Good News of Christ and him crucified, into the world.  This call, St. Peter explains, is so all peoples might come to know and understand that God has fulfilled the promise he made through the prophets by providing a sacrifice of atonement, His Only Begotten Son, Jesus and that belief in him will lead to reconciliation to the Father through the forgiveness of sins.

CCC: Acts 10:38 438, 453, 486, 1289; Acts 10:39 597; Acts 10:41 659, 995; Acts 10:42 679
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Acts 11:1-18

#279 Weekday Years I & II Context (Monday of the 4th Week of Easter)

The Apostles and the brothers who were in Judea
heard that the Gentiles too had accepted the word of God.
So when Peter went up to Jerusalem
the circumcised believers confronted him, saying,
'You entered the house of uncircumcised people and ate with them."
Peter began and explained it to them step by step, saying,
"I was at prayer in the city of Joppa
when in a trance I had a vision,
something resembling a large sheet coming down,
lowered from the sky by its four corners, and it came to me.
Looking intently into it,
I observed and saw the four-legged animals of the earth,
the wild beasts, the reptiles, and the birds of the sky.
I also heard a voice say to me, 'Get up, Peter. Slaughter and eat.'
But I said, 'Certainly not, sir,
because nothing profane or unclean has ever entered my mouth.'
But a second time a voice from heaven answered,
'What God has made clean, you are not to call profane.'
This happened three times,
and then everything was drawn up again into the sky.
Just then three men appeared at the house where we were,
who had been sent to me from Caesarea.
The Spirit told me to accompany them without discriminating.
These six brothers also went with me,
and we entered the man's house.
He related to us how he had seen the angel standing in his house, saying,
'Send someone to Joppa and summon Simon, who is called Peter,
who will speak words to you
by which you and all your household will be saved.'
As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them
as it had upon us at the beginning,
and I remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said,
'John baptized with water
but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.'
If then God gave them the same gift he gave to us
when we came to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ,
who was I to be able to hinder God?"
When they heard this,
they stopped objecting and glorified God, saying,
"God has then granted life-giving repentance to the Gentiles too."
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Commentary on Acts 11:1-18

This passage makes it clear that, at this early point in the development of the Church, Christians still considered themselves to be of the Jewish faith (much like the Messianic Jews of today). But they too have come to the realization that God had fulfilled His Messianic promise. “The Jewish Christians of Jerusalem were scandalized to learn of Peter's sojourn in the house of the Gentile Cornelius. Nonetheless, they had to accept the divine directions given to both Peter and Cornelius. They concluded that the setting aside of the legal barriers between Jew and Gentile was an exceptional ordinance of God to indicate that the apostolic kerygma was also to be directed to the Gentiles.[2]

CCC: Acts 11:14 1655
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Acts 11:19-26

#280 Weekday Years I & II Context (Tuesday of the fourth Week of Easter)

#873 Mass for Various Needs Context (I. For the Holy Church, 11. Evangelization of Peoples, 2)

Those who had been scattered by the persecution
that arose because of Stephen
went as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch,
preaching the word to no one but Jews.
There were some Cypriots and Cyrenians among them, however,
who came to Antioch and began to speak to the Greeks as well,
proclaiming the Lord Jesus.
The hand of the Lord was with them
and a great number who believed turned to the Lord.
The news about them reached the ears of the Church in Jerusalem,
and they sent Barnabas to go to Antioch.
When he arrived and saw the grace of God,
he rejoiced and encouraged them all
to remain faithful to the Lord in firmness of heart,
for he was a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and faith.
And a large number of people was added to the Lord.
Then he went to Tarsus to look for Saul,
and when he had found him he brought him to Antioch.
For a whole year they met with the Church
and taught a large number of people,
and it was in Antioch that the disciples
were first called Christians.
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Commentary on Acts 11:19-26

The story in Acts refers back to Acts 8:1-4, the flight of the Christian faithful from Jerusalem following the death of St. Stephen. It is significant in the life of the Church for a few reasons. First, because, as a consequence of bringing a large number of non-Jews to believe in Christ, namely the Gentile converts, and because the Gentile Converts had no historical connection to Judaism, these converts identified themselves for the first time as Christians – separate from Judaism. We note the action of the Holy Spirit is credited with this successful evangelization (as did St. John Chrysostom in his Homily on Acts 25 where he said: “Notice, that it is grace which does everything. And also reflect on the fact that this work is begun by unknown workers and only when it begins to prosper do the apostles send Barnabas.”). [13] This new vitality attracted not only Barnabas but Saul as well.

The second reason this event is so important is that it tells us Christianity has traveled to Antioch, the third city in the Roman empire with a population of over a half million (behind Rome and Alexandria). The spread of the Gospel is tremendously accelerated from this point.

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Acts 11:21b-26;13:1-3

#580 Proper of Saints Context (St. Barnabas, Jun 11)

In those days a great number who believed turned to the Lord.
The news about them reached the ears of the Church in Jerusalem,
and they sent Barnabas to go to Antioch.
When he arrived and saw the grace of God,
he rejoiced and encouraged them all
to remain faithful to the Lord in firmness of heart,
for he was a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and faith.
And a large number of people was added to the Lord.
Then he went to Tarsus to look for Saul,
and when he had found him he brought him to Antioch.
For a whole year they met with the Church
and taught a large number of people,
and it was in Antioch that the disciples
were first called Christians.

Now there were in the Church at Antioch prophets and teachers:
Barnabas, Symeon who was called Niger,
Lucius of Cyrene,
Manaen who was a close friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said,
"Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul
for the work to which I have called them."
Then, completing their fasting and prayer,
they laid hands on them and sent them off.
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Commentary on Acts 11:21b-26; 13:1-3

The increase of believers outside of Jerusalem may be indirectly attributed to the efforts of the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem who drove out many of the Hellenistic Christians in Jerusalem. These pilgrims took their faith with them and planted the seeds of faith in Antioch (and other places within the Roman Empire). To effect consistent catechesis and evangelization Barnabas was sent to help form this informal community into a center of faith which in its turn launched others to fulfill the mission of Christ in the world.

Barnabas is sent by the body of the Apostles to investigate the situation in Antioch and to discover what Paul is doing. Recall, Paul went through his conversion on the road to Damascus and never received guidance or direction from the Apostles. The last they knew, St. Paul was still on the “other side.” Barnabas’ journey therefore was, at least until he reached Antioch, tense. Barnabas finds Paul in Antioch and the two of them begin an aggressive evangelical ministry.

In the second section (Ch. 13) we see Barnabas and Saul (St. Paul) sent out from Antioch to spread the Gospel. Saul the convert and Barnabas the Apostle were set apart by the Lord for this purpose and strengthened themselves spiritually through prayer and fasting before their journey.

CCC: Acts 13:2 1070; Acts 13:3 699, 2632
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Acts 11:27-30

#883 Mass for Various Needs Context (II. For Public Needs, 13. For the Country or a City or for Those Who Serve in Public Office or for the Congress or for the President or for the Progress of Peoples, 1.)

#923 Mass for Various Needs Context (III. In Various Public Circumstances, 21. In Time of Famine or for Those Who Suffer From Famine, First Option)

Some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch,
  and one of them named Agabus stood up and predicted by the Spirit
  that there would be a severe famine all over the world,
  and it happened under Claudius.
So the disciples determined that, according to ability,
  each should send relief to the brothers
  who lived in Judea.
This they did, sending it to the presbyters in care of Barnabas and Saul.
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Commentary on Acts 11:27-30

We are introduced to Agabus, a Palestinian prophet who also predicted St. Paul's arrest in Jerusalem (Acts 21:10-11).  The famine he predicts is documented in other non-biblical sources and likely affected the Eastern Mediterranean Region.  We see by this selection that Christian communities were already forming a broader sense of unity, especially in time of distress. This passage tells us of the first of two episodes in which St. Paul sends aid to the Christian community in Jerusalem (The second was a collection taken up among Gentile Churches that he delivered to the poor of the city after his third missionary journey (Acts 24:17; Romans 15:25-28).[11]

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Acts 12:1-11

#591 Proper of Saints Context (Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Jun 29)

In those days, King Herod laid hands upon some members of the Church to harm them.
He had James, the brother of John, killed by the sword,
and when he saw that this was pleasing to the Jews
he proceeded to arrest Peter also.
-It was the feast of Unleavened Bread.-
He had him taken into custody and put in prison
under the guard of four squads of four soldiers each.
He intended to bring him before the people after Passover.
Peter thus was being kept in prison,
but prayer by the Church was fervently being made
to God on his behalf.

On the very night before Herod was to bring him to trial,
Peter, secured by double chains,
was sleeping between two soldiers,
while outside the door guards kept watch on the prison.
Suddenly the angel of the Lord stood by him
and a light shone in the cell.
He tapped Peter on the side and awakened him, saying,
"Get up quickly."
The chains fell from his wrists.
The angel said to him, "Put on your belt and your sandals."
He did so.
Then he said to him, "Put on your cloak and follow me."
So he followed him out,
not realizing that what was happening through the angel was real;
he thought he was seeing a vision.
They passed the first guard, then the second,
and came to the iron gate leading out to the city,
which opened for them by itself.
They emerged and made their way down an alley,
and suddenly the angel left him.
Then Peter recovered his senses and said,
"Now I know for certain
that the Lord sent his angel
and rescued me from the hand of Herod
and from all that the Jewish people had been expecting."
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Commentary on Acts 12:1-11

The Christian Jews in Jerusalem have fallen from favor, probably due to St. Stephen’s teaching and the subsequent backlash. The execution of St. James marks the beginning of the third persecution of the early Church in Jerusalem, this one from a more formal source.

The liberation of Peter from prison echoes many events of Jewish history (the deliverance of Joseph, Genesis 39:21-41:57; the three young men, Daniel 3; and Daniel [himself], Daniel 6) that consciously reflect the paschal liberation (Exodus 12:42). Peter now undergoes the same trial and deliverance as his Master and in his own person becomes a sign of God’s deliverance of his people.

CCC: Acts 12:5 2636; Acts 12:6-11 334
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Acts 12:24—13:5a

#281 Weekday Years I & II Context (Wednesday of the 4th Week of Easter)

The word of God continued to spread and grow.

After Barnabas and Saul completed their relief mission,
they returned to Jerusalem,
taking with them John, who is called Mark.

Now there were in the Church at Antioch prophets and teachers:
Barnabas, Symeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene,
Manaen who was a close friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said,
"Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul
for the work to which I have called them."
Then, completing their fasting and prayer,
they laid hands on them and sent them off.

So they, sent forth by the Holy Spirit,
went down to Seleucia
and from there sailed to Cyprus.
When they arrived in Salamis,
they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues.
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Commentary on Acts 12:24—13:5a

In this story from Acts we hear of St. Paul’s first missionary effort into Asia Minor. There is some discussion about v. 24.  Some translations say Barnabas and Saul returned "to Jerusalem" while others say they returned "from Jerusalem."  Since, from this point forward, St. Luke focuses on the Church at Antioch, we will assume they returned "from" Jerusalem.

The structure of the community at Antioch is described in some detail.  Not only did they have leadership ordained to lead the assembly, they also had "prophets and teachers."  These individuals had special roles within the community.  It is clear that they were having liturgical celebrations, almost certainly Eucharistic in character.  In the context of communal worship, the Holy Spirit influences missionary action through prophets and teachers.

The members ordain a task for Barnabas and Saul, "they laid hands on them," sending them on their journey. Note, the effort begins in the Synagogues on Cyprus. The word spreads.

CCC: Acts 13:2 1070; Acts 13:3 699, 2632
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Acts 13:13-25

#282 Weekday Years I & II Context (Thursday of the 4th Week of Easter)

From Paphos, Paul and his companions
set sail and arrived at Perga in Pamphylia.
But John left them and returned to Jerusalem.
They continued on from Perga and reached Antioch in Pisidia.
On the sabbath they entered into the synagogue and took their seats.
After the reading of the law and the prophets,
the synagogue officials sent word to them,
"My brothers, if one of you has a word of exhortation
for the people, please speak."

So Paul got up, motioned with his hand, and said,
"Fellow children of Israel and you others who are God-fearing, listen.
The God of this people Israel chose our ancestors
and exalted the people during their sojourn in the land of Egypt.
With uplifted arm he led them out,
and for about forty years he put up with them in the desert.
When he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan,
he gave them their land as an inheritance
at the end of about four hundred and fifty years.
After these things he provided judges up to Samuel the prophet.
Then they asked for a king.
God gave them Saul, son of Kish,
a man from the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years.
Then he removed him and raised up David as their king;
of him he testified,
I have found David, son of Jesse, a man after my own heart;
he will carry out my every wish.
From this man's descendants God, according to his promise,
has brought to Israel a savior, Jesus.
John heralded his coming by proclaiming a baptism of repentance
to all the people of Israel;
and as John was completing his course, he would say,
'What do you suppose that I am? I am not he.
Behold, one is coming after me;

I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet.'"
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Commentary on Acts 13:13-25

This is the first of several instances recorded in Acts in which St. Paul uses his scholarly knowledge of the Hebrew tradition to build up a logical rationale for Jesus as savior and Messiah. In this passage his development ends as he recounts the history of God’s covenant with the Jewish people, from their exodus from Egypt under Moses to the appearance of John the Baptist. John was a contemporary figure about whom these people would have been aware.

CCC: Acts 13:24 523
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Acts 13:14, 43-52

#51C Solemnities C Context (4th Sunday of Easter C)

Paul and Barnabas continued on from Perga
and reached Antioch in Pisidia.
On the sabbath they entered the synagogue and took their seats.
Many Jews and worshipers who were converts to Judaism
followed Paul and Barnabas, who spoke to them
and urged them to remain faithful to the grace of God.

On the following sabbath almost the whole city gathered
to hear the word of the Lord.
When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy
and with violent abuse contradicted what Paul said.
Both Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said,
“It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first,
but since you reject it
and condemn yourselves as unworthy of eternal life,
we now turn to the Gentiles.
For so the Lord has commanded us,
I have made you a light to the Gentiles,
that you may be an instrument of salvation
to the ends of the earth.”

The Gentiles were delighted when they heard this
and glorified the word of the Lord.
All who were destined for eternal life came to believe,
and the word of the Lord continued to spread
through the whole region.
The Jews, however, incited the women of prominence who were worshipers
and the leading men of the city,
stirred up a persecution against Paul and Barnabas,
and expelled them from their territory.
So they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them,
and went to Iconium.
The disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Acts 13:14, 43-52

This excerpt is part of Paul’s first missionary trip. His encounter with the Jewish Community in Antioch begins with his exhortation about Jesus, the Messiah, to the members of that community. This encounter, and the antagonism he faces from the Jews, sets the tone for most such interactions throughout the balance of St. Paul's encounters with the Jewish leadership in his missionary travels.  Much of what is said in verses 15-42 (not presented here) relate to how the Lord came in fulfillment of the scriptures (see below).

In the second part of the reading, the Jews refuse Paul’s apologetic logic. He then turns to the Gentiles of the region who embrace the faith with great fervor, upsetting the Pharisaic community which then forces Paul to leave.

"'They shook the dust from their feet': a traditional expression: the Jews regarded as unclean the dust of anywhere other than the holy land of Palestine. Our Lord extended the meaning of the phrase when He told the disciples He was sending them out to preach, 'If any one will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet' (Matthew 10:14; cf. Luke 9:5). This gesture of Paul and Barnabas echoes what Jesus said and amounted to "closing the case" or putting on record the unbelief of the Jews."[16]

CCC: Acts 13:48 2640
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Acts 13:16-17, 22-25

#13ABC Solemnities ABC Context (Nativity of the Lord-Vigil ABC)

When Paul reached Antioch in Pisidia and entered the synagogue,
he stood up, motioned with his hand, and said,
“Fellow Israelites and you others who are God-fearing, listen.
The God of this people Israel chose our ancestors
and exalted the people during their sojourn in the
land of Egypt.
With uplifted arm he led them out of it.
Then he removed Saul and raised up David as king;
of him he testified,
‘I have found David, son of Jesse, a man after my own heart;
he will carry out my every wish.’
From this man’s descendants God, according to his promise,
has brought to Israel a savior, Jesus.
John heralded his coming by proclaiming a baptism of repentance
to all the people of Israel;
and as John was completing his course, he would say,
‘What do you suppose that I am? I am not he.
Behold, one is coming after me; I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet.’”
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Commentary on Acts 13:16-17, 22-25

St. Paul, speaking to Jews who were being called to deeper faith in Christ, reminds them that the prophecy that the Messiah would come from the lineage of King David had been fulfilled. He speaks of St. John the Baptist as the herald of that event by recounting his (St. John’s) prophetic speech on the occasion of Jesus’ baptism by John in the Jordan (see also Mark 1:6-7; Matthew 3:11John 1:26-27).

CCC: Acts 13:24 523
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Acts 13:22-26

#587 Proper of Saints Context (Nativity of Saint John the Baptist, Mass during the Day, Jun 24)

In those days, Paul said:
"God raised up David as king;
of him God testified,
I have found David, son of Jesse, a man after my own heart;
he will carry out my every wish.
From this man's descendants God, according to his promise,
has brought to Israel a savior, Jesus.
John heralded his coming by proclaiming a baptism of repentance
to all the people of Israel;
and as John was completing his course, he would say,
'What do you suppose that I am? I am not he.
Behold, one is coming after me;
I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet.'

"My brothers, sons of the family of Abraham,
and those others among you who are God-fearing,
to us this word of salvation has been sent."
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Commentary on Acts 13:22-26

This is the first of several instances recorded in Acts that St. Paul uses his scholarly knowledge of the Hebrew tradition to build up a logical rationale for Jesus as savior and Messiah. In this passage, that development ends as he recounts the history of God’s covenant with the Jewish people from their exodus from Egypt under Moses to the appearance of John the Baptist (in this discourse there are quotes from several sources: Psalm 89:21; 1 Samuel 13:14; and Isaiah 44:28). St. John was a contemporary figure about whom these people would have been aware, and he quotes Luke 3:16. He concludes by appealing to the Jewish audience (“sons of the family of Abraham”) to hear the prophetic call fulfilled.

CCC: Acts 13:24 523
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Acts 13:26b-33

#283 Weekday Years I & II Context (Friday of the 4th Week of Easter)

#726 Commons Context (Common of Doctors of the Church)

#970 Votive Mass Context (The Mystery of the Holy Cross, [During the Easter Season], Second Option)

When Paul came to Antioch in Pisidia, he said in the synagogue:
"My brothers, children of the family of Abraham,
and those others among you who are God-fearing,
to us this word of salvation has been sent.
The inhabitants of Jerusalem and their leaders failed to recognize him,
and by condemning him they fulfilled the oracles of the prophets
that are read sabbath after sabbath.
For even though they found no grounds for a death sentence,
they asked Pilate to have him put to death,
and when they had accomplished all that was written about him,
they took him down from the tree and placed him in a tomb.
But God raised him from the dead,
and for many days he appeared to those
who had come up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem.
These are now his witnesses before the people.
We ourselves are proclaiming this good news to you
that what God promised our fathers
he has brought to fulfillment for us, their children, by raising up Jesus,
as it is written in the second psalm,
You are my Son; this day I have begotten you."
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Commentary on Acts 13:26-33

In this passage from Acts we find Paul on his first missionary journey to Asia. He is speaking to a mixed crowd of Jews and Gentiles, explaining that Jesus came to fulfill what was written in the Hebrew Scriptures. He concludes his discourse with a quote from Psalm 2:7: "You are my Son; this day I have begotten you." For the Jews this proclamation by the psalmist would have seemed a natural continuation of the understanding of the Hebrew people in salvation history, that the "chosen people" should enjoy God's promised salvation (in the resurrection). For the Gentiles the adoption by God, implicit in the quote, would be seen as an invitation.

CCC: Acts 13:27-28 597; Acts 13:29 601; Acts 13:31 647; Acts 13:32-33 638; Acts 13:32 653; Acts 13:33 445, 2606
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Acts 13:32-39

#791 Ritual Mass (Ritual Mass Context (V. For the Pastoral Care of the Sick and Dying, Anointing of the Sick [During the Easter Season], Fourth Option)

Paul said:
"We ourselves are proclaiming this good news to you
  that what God promised our fathers
  he has brought to fulfillment for us, their children,
  by raising up Jesus,
  as it is written in the second psalm,
  You are my Son; this day I have begotten you.
And that he raised him from the dead never to return to corruption
  he declared in this way,
  I shall give you the benefits assured to David.
That is why he also says in another psalm,
  You will not suffer your holy one to see corruption.
Now David, after he had served the will of God in his lifetime,
  fell asleep, was gathered to his fathers, and did see corruption.
But the one whom God raised up did not see corruption.
You must know, my brothers,
  that through him forgiveness of sins is being proclaimed to you,
  and in regard to everything from which you could not be justified under
       the law of Moses,
  in him every believer is justified."
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Commentary on Acts 13:32-39

In this passage from Acts we find Paul on his first missionary journey to Asia. He is speaking to a mixed crowd of Jews and Gentiles, explaining that Jesus came to fulfill what was written in the Hebrew Scriptures. Here be begins with a quote from Psalm 2:7.  This short quote explains how Jesus' resurrection fulfills God's promise to continue the Davidic dynasty over Israel and indeed over the whole world (2 Samuel 7:12-16).

"Paul continues to build his case for the Davidic kingship of Jesus by citing Isaiah 55:3 and Psalm 16:10.  Isaiah gives hope to Israel in exile the God will restore the kingdom and blessings of David through an everlasting covenant.  Psalm 16 is David's own prophecy that Yahweh will preserve the anointed Messiah from the corruption of death."[12]

St. Paul concludes his discourse by contrasting belief in the law of Moses, which according to Paul brought sin into the world by defining it (Romans 5:20ff),  to accepting the forgiveness offered in the promise, fulfilled in Christ where by all who believe in him find forgiveness of their sins - being returned to as state of reconciliation or justified (made just as if one had never sinned).

CCC: Acts 13:27-28 597; Acts 13:29 601; Acts 13:31 647; Acts 13:32-33 638; Acts 13:32 653; Acts 13:33 445, 2606; Acts 13:34 653; Acts 13:38-41 578
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Acts 13:44-52

#284 Weekday Years I & II Context (Saturday of the 4th Week of Easter)

On the following sabbath
almost the whole city
gathered to hear the word of the Lord.
When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy
and with violent abuse contradicted what Paul said.
Both Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said,
"It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first,
but since you reject it
and condemn yourselves as unworthy of eternal life,
we now turn to the Gentiles.
For so the Lord has commanded us,
I have made you a light to the Gentiles,
that you may be an instrument of salvation
to the ends of the earth."

The Gentiles were delighted when they heard this
and glorified the word of the Lord.
All who were destined for eternal life came to believe,
and the word of the Lord continued to spread
through the whole region.
The Jews, however, incited the women of prominence who were worshipers
and the leading men of the city,
stirred up a persecution against Paul and Barnabas,
and expelled them from their territory.
So they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them
and went to Iconium.

The disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.
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Commentary on Acts 13:44-52

This excerpt is part of Paul’s first missionary trip. His encounter with the Jewish community in Antioch continues.  He had finished his exhortation about Jesus the Messiah to the members of that community. We see the angry rejection by many of the Jews.  Once the Jews refuse to acknowledge Christ as Messiah, we are given Paul’s logical defense.  He then turns to the Gentiles of the region who embrace the faith with great fervor, upsetting the Pharisaic community who then force Paul to leave.

CCC: Acts 13:48 2640
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Acts 13:46-49

#532 Proper of Saints Context (Sts. Cyril and Methodius, Feb 14)

#720 Commons Context (Common of Pastors)

#873 Mass for Various Needs Context (I. For the Holy Church, 11. For the Evangelization of Peoples, 3.)

Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said,
"It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first,
but since you reject it
and condemn yourselves as unworthy of eternal life,
we now turn to the Gentiles.
For so the Lord has commanded us,
I have made you a light to the Gentiles,
that you may be an instrument of salvation
to the ends of the earth. "

The Gentiles were delighted when they heard this
and glorified the word of the Lord.
All who were destined for eternal life came to believe,
and the word of the Lord continued to spread
through the whole region.
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Commentary on Acts 13:46-49

This excerpt from St. Paul’s first missionary journey finds Paul and Barnabas in Antioch. They have attempted to present the Gospel to the Jews but are rejected. We note that Luke acknowledges that this word came first to the Hebrews, but since they have rejected it, the Gentiles inherit the salvation they were offered. The Gospel now is presented to the Gentiles who receive it with enthusiasm.

CCC: Acts 13:48 2640
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Acts 14:5-18

#285 Weekday Years I & II Context (Monday of the 5th Week of Easter)

There was an attempt in Iconium
by both the Gentiles and the Jews,
together with their leaders,
to attack and stone Paul and Barnabas.
They realized it,
and fled to the Lycaonian cities of Lystra and Derbe
and to the surrounding countryside,
where they continued to proclaim the Good News.

At Lystra there was a crippled man, lame from birth,
who had never walked.
He listened to Paul speaking, who looked intently at him,
saw that he had the faith to be healed,
and called out in a loud voice, "Stand up straight on your feet."
He jumped up and began to walk about.
When the crowds saw what Paul had done,
they cried out in Lycaonian,
"The gods have come down to us in human form."
They called Barnabas "Zeus" and Paul "Hermes,"
because he was the chief speaker.
And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was at the entrance to the city,
brought oxen and garlands to the gates,
for he together with the people intended to offer sacrifice.

The Apostles Barnabas and Paul tore their garments
when they heard this and rushed out into the crowd, shouting,
"Men, why are you doing this?
We are of the same nature as you, human beings.
We proclaim to you good news
that you should turn from these idols to the living God,
who made heaven and earth and sea and all that is in them.
In past generations he allowed all Gentiles to go their own ways;
yet, in bestowing his goodness,
he did not leave himself without witness,
for he gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons,
and filled you with nourishment and gladness for your hearts."
Even with these words, they scarcely restrained the crowds
from offering sacrifice to them.
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Commentary on Acts 14:5-18

“In an effort to convince his hearers that the divine power works through his word, Paul cures the cripple. However, the pagan tradition of the occasional appearance of gods among human beings leads the people astray in interpreting the miracle. The incident reveals the cultural difficulties with which the church had to cope. Note the similarity of the miracle worked here by Paul to the one performed by Peter in Acts 3:2-10.”[3]

The response by Paul and Barnabas at being hailed as gods demonstrates their Christian character as well as providing an example of Christ-like humility. When the amazed pagan crowds think they are gods, they first “tore their garments.” This act, in biblical times, was significant. It meant that the Apostles felt grief coupled with indignation at the action (see also Genesis 37:29; 1 Samuel 4:11-12; 2 Chronicles 34:26-27; Matthew 26:62-65). They immediately launch into a corrective dialogue that, while forestalling the worst affront to God, at least prevents the pagans from outright worship.

CCC: Acts 14:15 32; Acts 14:17 32, 1147
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Acts 14:19-28

#286 Weekday Years I & II Context (Tuesday of the 5th Week of Easter)

In those days, some Jews from Antioch and Iconium
arrived and won over the crowds.
They stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city,
supposing that he was dead.
But when the disciples gathered around him,
he got up and entered the city.
On the following day he left with Barnabas for Derbe.

After they had proclaimed the good news to that city
and made a considerable number of disciples,
they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch.
They strengthened the spirits of the disciples
and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying,
"It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships
to enter the Kingdom of God."
They appointed presbyters for them in each Church and,
with prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord
in whom they had put their faith.
Then they traveled through Pisidia and reached Pamphylia.
After proclaiming the word at Perga they went down to Attalia.
From there they sailed to Antioch,
where they had been commended to the grace of God
for the work they had now accomplished.
And when they arrived, they called the Church together
and reported what God had done with them
and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.
Then they spent no little time with the disciples.
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Commentary on Acts 14:19-28

This selection recounts the first missionary journey of Paul and Barnabas. It describes the model of how the church was built. Persecution drives further expansion of the Church to another town. Paul and Barnabas would enter a region and proclaim the Good News. They would then identify leaders among the converted, entrust the word to them and then move on having accomplished the establishment of a foothold among the gentiles. (See also 1 Corinthians 16:9 and 2 Corinthians 2:12.)

CCC: Acts 14:22 556, 2847
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Acts 14:21-23

#776 Ritual Mass Context (III. For the Admission to Candidacy for the Diaconate and the Priesthood, First Option)

Paul and Barnabas returned to Lystra and to Iconium
  and to Antioch.
They strengthened the spirits of the disciples
  and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying,
  "It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships
  to enter the Kingdom of God."
They appointed presbyters for them in each Chnrch and,
  with prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord
  in whom they had put their faith.
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Commentary on Acts 14:21-23

This reading recounts the first missionary journey of Paul and Barnabas. It describes the model of how the church was built. Persecution drives further expansion of the Church to another town. Paul and Barnabas would enter a region and proclaim the Good News. They would then identify leaders among the converted, entrust the word to them and then move on having accomplished the establishment of a foothold among the gentiles. (See also 1 Corinthians 16:9 and 2 Corinthians 2:12.)

CCC: Acts 14:22 556, 2847
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Acts 14:21-27

#54C Solemnities C Context (5th Sunday of Easter C)

After Paul and Barnabas had proclaimed the good news
to that city
and made a considerable number of disciples,
they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch.
They strengthened the spirits of the disciples
and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying,
“It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships
to enter the kingdom of God.”
They appointed elders for them in each church and,
with prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord
in whom they had put their faith.
Then they traveled through Pisidia and reached Pamphylia.
After proclaiming the word at Perga they went down to Attalia.
From there they sailed to Antioch,
where they had been commended to the grace of God
for the work they had now accomplished.
And when they arrived, they called the church together
and reported what God had done with them
and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Acts 14:21-27

This reading recounts the first missionary journey of Paul and Barnabas. It describes the model of how the church was built. Persecution drives further expansion of the Church to another town. Paul and Barnabas would enter a region and proclaim the Good News. They would then identify leaders among the converted and entrust the word to them.  This action is seen by the Church as establishing the Priesthood within the early Church. The apostles insured continuity of teaching and a source of strength for the community. Once the leaders were trained and installed, Paul and Barnabas would then move on, having accomplished the establishment of a foothold among the gentiles. (See also 1 Corinthians 16:9 and 2 Corinthians 2:12)

CCC: Acts 14:22 556, 2847
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Acts 15:1-6

#287 Weekday Years I & II Context (Wednesday of the 5th Week of Easter)

Some who had come down from Judea were instructing the brothers,
"Unless you are circumcised according to the Mosaic practice,
you cannot be saved."
Because there arose no little dissension and debate
by Paul and Barnabas with them,
it was decided that Paul, Barnabas, and some of the others
should go up to Jerusalem to the Apostles and presbyters
about this question.
They were sent on their journey by the Church,
and passed through Phoenicia and Samaria
telling of the conversion of the Gentiles,
and brought great joy to all the brethren.
When they arrived in Jerusalem,
they were welcomed by the Church,
as well as by the Apostles and the presbyters,
and they reported what God had done with them.
But some from the party of the Pharisees who had become believers
stood up and said, "It is necessary to circumcise them
and direct them to observe the Mosaic law."

The Apostles and the presbyters met together to see about this matter.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Acts 15:1-6

In this passage we see the issue being raised: should the Gentile Christians be required to follow all Hebrew Law (as Jesus and his disciples did)? The practice they are debating is circumcision.  The question is, should the male Gentiles be required to be circumcised? The disagreement over this question was serious enough to send Paul and Barnabas back to Jerusalem where we hear the debate continue.

This event helps us understand how teaching in the early Church was kept consistent. Peter and the Apostles were the authority. On important questions of the faith they were the ones who made decisions. Local Presbyters did not.

CCC: Acts 15:5 595
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Acts 15:1-2, 22-29

#57C Solemnities C Context (6th Sunday of Easter C)

Some who had come down from Judea were instructing the brothers,
“Unless you are circumcised according to the Mosaic practice,
you cannot be saved.”
Because there arose no little dissension and debate
by Paul and Barnabas with them,
it was decided that Paul, Barnabas, and some of the others
should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders
about this question.

The apostles and elders, in agreement with the whole church,
decided to choose representatives
and to send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas.
The ones chosen were Judas, who was called Barsabbas,
and Silas, leaders among the brothers.
This is the letter delivered by them:

“The apostles and the elders, your brothers,
to the brothers in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia
of Gentile origin: greetings.
Since we have heard that some of our number
who went out without any mandate from us
have upset you with their teachings
and disturbed your peace of mind,
we have with one accord decided to choose representatives
and to send them to you along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,
who have dedicated their lives to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
So we are sending Judas and Silas
who will also convey this same message by word of mouth:
‘It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us
not to place on you any burden beyond these necessities,
namely, to abstain from meat sacrificed to idols,
from blood, from meats of strangled animals,
and from unlawful marriage.
If you keep free of these,
you will be doing what is right. Farewell.’”
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Commentary on Acts 15:1-2, 22-29

The two sections of this selection from Acts begin and end the discussion about whether the Gentile converts to Christianity should have to follow all of Mosaic Law, including circumcision. The first Council of Jerusalem concludes that, all that is necessary for the Gentiles is to follow some of the dietary laws, not circumcision. The Church finds unity in consensus between the various members, keeping core Jewish values.

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Acts 15:7-21

#288 Weekday Years I & II Context (Thursday of the 5th Week of Easter)

After much debate had taken place,
Peter got up and said to the Apostles and the presbyters,
“My brothers, you are well aware that from early days
God made his choice among you that through my mouth
the Gentiles would hear the word of the Gospel and believe.
And God, who knows the heart,
bore witness by granting them the Holy Spirit
just as he did us.
He made no distinction between us and them,
for by faith he purified their hearts.
Why, then, are you now putting God to the test
by placing on the shoulders of the disciples
a yoke that neither our ancestors nor we have been able to bear?
On the contrary, we believe that we are saved
through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they.”
The whole assembly fell silent,
and they listened
while Paul and Barnabas described the signs and wonders
God had worked among the Gentiles through them.

After they had fallen silent, James responded,
“My brothers, listen to me.
Symeon has described how God first concerned himself
with acquiring from among the Gentiles a people for his name.
The words of the prophets agree with this, as is written:

After this I shall return
and rebuild the fallen hut of David;
from its ruins I shall rebuild it
and raise it up again,
so that the rest of humanity may seek out the Lord,
even all the Gentiles on whom my name is invoked.
Thus says the Lord who accomplishes these things,
known from of old.


It is my judgment, therefore,
that we ought to stop troubling the Gentiles who turn to God,
but tell them by letter to avoid pollution from idols,
unlawful marriage, the meat of strangled animals, and blood.
For Moses, for generations now,
has had those who proclaim him in every town,
as he has been read in the synagogues every sabbath.”
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Commentary on Acts 15:7-21

The debate over whether the Gentiles must follow all of the Law of Moses continues, as St. Paul has brought a volatile topic to the Apostles in Jerusalem. Supported by St. Peter, he has made the fundamental argument that all are invited to be saved through faith in Christ. The “yoke” Peter speaks of is a reference to the “Yoke of the Torah” or the “Kingdom of Heaven,” not necessarily a burden but a goal.

The response of St. James the Lesser (the same James related in Galatians 2:1-10 presiding over the Council of Jerusalem) cites Amos 9: 11-12 and makes an apostolic decree. He minimizes the Hebrew Laws the Gentiles must follow, binding them to Leviticus 17:7-9 [false idols] and Leviticus 17:10ff [dietary rules]. St. Luke here apparently combines two distinct events. The First Jerusalem Council which deals with circumcision and the second which deals with dietary laws.

CCC: Acts 15:10 578
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Acts 15:22-31

#289 Weekday Years I & II Context (Friday of the 5th Week of Easter)

The Apostles and presbyters, in agreement with the whole Church,
decided to choose representatives
and to send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas.
The ones chosen were Judas, who was called Barsabbas,
and Silas, leaders among the brothers.
This is the letter delivered by them:
"The Apostles and the presbyters, your brothers,
to the brothers in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia
of Gentile origin: greetings.
Since we have heard that some of our number
who went out without any mandate from us
have upset you with their teachings
and disturbed your peace of mind,
we have with one accord decided to choose representatives
and to send them to you along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,
who have dedicated their lives to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
So we are sending Judas and Silas
who will also convey this same message by word of mouth:
'It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us
not to place on you any burden beyond these necessities,
namely, to abstain from meat sacrificed to idols,
from blood, from meats of strangled animals,
and from unlawful marriage.
If you keep free of these,
you will be doing what is right. Farewell.'"

And so they were sent on their journey.
Upon their arrival in Antioch
they called the assembly together and delivered the letter.
When the people read it, they were delighted with the exhortation.
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Commentary on Acts 15:22-31

The conclusion of the First Council of Jerusalem is described in this selection. St James, in conjunction with the rest of the Apostles, selects a delegation to return to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas to tell the good news to the Gentile Christians, that, with the exception of Mosaic dietary regulations, they are free to express the Christian faith without the need to adopt all of the religious regulations of Judaism. (Most especially, circumcision is not required.) This is important in scripture since it demonstrates the authority of the Apostles to define orthodoxy, authority that has been transmitted to their successors through Apostolic Succession.

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Acts 16:1-10

#290 Weekday Years I & II Context (Saturday of the 5th Week of Easter)

Paul reached also Derbe and Lystra
where there was a disciple named Timothy,
the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer,
but his father was a Greek.
The brothers in Lystra and Iconium spoke highly of him,
and Paul wanted him to come along with him.
On account of the Jews of that region, Paul had him circumcised,
for they all knew that his father was a Greek.
As they traveled from city to city,
they handed on to the people for observance the decisions
reached by the Apostles and presbyters in Jerusalem.
Day after day the churches grew stronger in faith
and increased in number.

They traveled through the Phrygian and Galatian territory
because they had been prevented by the Holy Spirit
from preaching the message in the province of Asia.
When they came to Mysia, they tried to go on into Bithynia,
but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them,
so they crossed through Mysia and came down to Troas.
During the night Paul had a vision.
A Macedonian stood before him and implored him with these words,
"Come over to Macedonia and help us."
When he had seen the vision,
we sought passage to Macedonia at once,
concluding that God had called us to proclaim the Good News to them.
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Commentary on Acts 16:1-10

In this passage from Acts, Paul finds Timothy to whom he later writes his great descriptions on the infrastructure of the Church.  Together, they travel throughout the region and, as the reading says: “Day after day the churches grew stronger in faith and increased in number.”  Paul had Timothy circumcised so he could minister to the Jews as well as the Greeks in their travels.  Paul himself held fast to Jewish Law.  God calls them onward through visions of the work to be done in God’s service.

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Acts 16:11-15

#291 Weekday Years I & II Context (Monday of the 6th Week of Easter)

We set sail from Troas, making a straight run for Samothrace,
and on the next day to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi,
a leading city in that district of Macedonia and a Roman colony.
We spent some time in that city.
On the sabbath we went outside the city gate along the river
where we thought there would be a place of prayer.
We sat and spoke with the women who had gathered there.
One of them, a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth,
from the city of Thyatira, a worshiper of God, listened,
and the Lord opened her heart to pay attention
to what Paul was saying.
After she and her household had been baptized,
she offered us an invitation,
"If you consider me a believer in the Lord,
come and stay at my home," and she prevailed on us.
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Commentary on Acts 16:11-15

This passage recounts how St. Paul and his companions leave for Philippi in Macedonia. We hear of the conversion of Lydia and her family. It is not clear if Lydia is part of the Jewish community of that region or, like the eunuch converted by Philip (Acts 8:26-40), a “God-fearer” who embraced the concept of monotheism. It appears that she gives St. Paul a base from which the rest of the community can be evangelized.

CCC: Acts 16:15 1226, 1252
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Acts 16:22-34

#292 Weekday Years I & II Context (Tuesday of the 6th Week of Easter)

The crowd in Philippi joined in the attack on Paul and Silas,
and the magistrates had them stripped
and ordered them to be beaten with rods.
After inflicting many blows on them,
they threw them into prison
and instructed the jailer to guard them securely.
When he received these instructions, he put them in the innermost cell
and secured their feet to a stake.

About midnight, while Paul and Silas were praying
and singing hymns to God as the prisoners listened,
there was suddenly such a severe earthquake
that the foundations of the jail shook;
all the doors flew open, and the chains of all were pulled loose.
When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors wide open,
he drew his sword and was about to kill himself,
thinking that the prisoners had escaped.
But Paul shouted out in a loud voice,
"Do no harm to yourself; we are all here."
He asked for a light and rushed in and,
trembling with fear, he fell down before Paul and Silas.
Then he brought them out and said,
"Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"
And they said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus
and you and your household will be saved."
So they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to everyone in his house.
He took them in at that hour of the night and bathed their wounds;
then he and all his family were baptized at once.
He brought them up into his house and provided a meal
and with his household rejoiced at having come to faith in God.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Acts 16:22-34

This selection is another part of the first of the “we sections” in Acts. Here the events of Paul and Silas being beaten, jailed, and then released are given.

"This is the first time St Paul comes into conflict with Gentiles. As might be expected, the incident does not take the form of a riot, as happened in cities of Asia Minor (13:50; 14:5, 19), but of a civil suit before local magistrates. The people who bring the charge say nothing about their real reason -- loss of profit. They accuse Paul of two things. Their first charge is disturbance of the peace. The second seems to be based on regulations forbidding Roman citizens to pracice alien cults, especially where these conflict with Roman custom."[6]

The jailer and those present interpreted the earthquake and its effect on the jail cells as a sign from God. This gave weight to Paul’s evangelical approach that led to their release and the jailer’s conversion.

CCC: Acts 16:31-33 1226; Acts 16:31 1655; Acts 16:33 1252
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Acts 17:15, 22—18:1

#293 Weekday Years I & II Context (Wednesday of the 6th Week of Easter)

After Paul's escorts had taken him to Athens,
they came away with instructions for Silas and Timothy
to join him as soon as possible.

Then Paul stood up at the Areopagus and said:
"You Athenians, I see that in every respect
you are very religious.
For as I walked around looking carefully at your shrines,
I even discovered an altar inscribed, 'To an Unknown God.'
What therefore you unknowingly worship, I proclaim to you.
The God who made the world and all that is in it,
the Lord of heaven and earth,
does not dwell in sanctuaries made by human hands,
nor is he served by human hands because he needs anything.
Rather it is he who gives to everyone life and breath and everything.
He made from one the whole human race
to dwell on the entire surface of the earth,
and he fixed the ordered seasons and the boundaries of their regions,
so that people might seek God,
even perhaps grope for him and find him,
though indeed he is not far from any one of us.
For 'In him we live and move and have our being,'
as even some of your poets have said,
'For we too are his offspring.'
Since therefore we are the offspring of God,
we ought not to think that the divinity is like an image
fashioned from gold, silver, or stone by human art and imagination.
God has overlooked the times of ignorance,
but now he demands that all people everywhere repent
because he has established a day on which he will 'judge the world
with justice' through a man he has appointed,
and he has provided confirmation for all
by raising him from the dead."

When they heard about resurrection of the dead,
some began to scoff, but others said,
"We should like to hear you on this some other time."
And so Paul left them.
But some did join him, and became believers.
Among them were Dionysius,
a member of the Court of the Areopagus,
a woman named Damaris, and others with them.
After this he left Athens and went to Corinth.
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Commentary on Acts 17:15, 22—18:1

This selection places St. Paul in Athens speaking to the pagans in one of their principal venues. In his rhetoric, he uses their own beliefs to bring them to understanding by first telling them, using their “Unknown God” as a starting point, that God is not bound in gold, silver, or stone (as their idols are), but that he exists all around them, creator of all that is and will be.

When he gets to a point at which he begins talking about Jesus and the Lord’s resurrection, he loses most of them but some remain and Christianity in that city has begun. From Athens he and his companions move to Corinth.

CCC: Acts 17:24-29 287; Acts 17:26-28 28; Acts 17:26-27 57; Acts 17:26 360; Acts 17:27-28 32; Acts 17:27 2566; Acts 17:28 300; Acts 17:31 679; Acts 17:32 996
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Acts 18:1-8

#294 Weekday Years I & II Context (Thursday of the 6th Week of Easter)

Paul left Athens and went to Corinth.
There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus,
who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla
because Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome.
He went to visit them and, because he practiced the same trade,
stayed with them and worked, for they were tentmakers by trade.
Every sabbath, he entered into discussions in the synagogue,
attempting to convince both Jews and Greeks.
When Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia,
Paul began to occupy himself totally with preaching the word,
testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus.
When they opposed him and reviled him,
he shook out his garments and said to them,
“Your blood be on your heads!
I am clear of responsibility.
From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”
So he left there and went to a house
belonging to a man named Titus Justus, a worshiper of God;
his house was next to a synagogue.
Crispus, the synagogue official, came to believe in the Lord
along with his entire household, and many of the Corinthians
who heard believed and were baptized.
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Commentary on Acts 18:1-8

This passage contains the threads from several different stories converging in Corinth. First, Aquila and Priscilla were probably already Christians since their home, according to 1 Corinthians 16:19, became a meeting place for the local community. They were probably expelled from Rome because of in-fighting among the Jews about the identity of the Messiah.

It is clear from this account that the Church in Corinth was not established without significant resistance from the local Jewish community. Paul clearly went after that group, and was successful in forming the nucleus of membership among the Corinthians.

CCC: Acts 18:6 597; Acts 18:8 1252, 1655
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Acts 18:9-18

#295 Weekday Years I & II Context (Friday of the 6th Week of Easter)

One night while Paul was in Corinth, the Lord said to him in a vision,
"Do not be afraid.
Go on speaking, and do not be silent, for I am with you.
No one will attack and harm you,
for I have many people in this city."
He settled there for a year and a half
and taught the word of God among them.

But when Gallio was proconsul of Achaia,
the Jews rose up together against Paul
and brought him to the tribunal, saying,
"This man is inducing people to worship God contrary to the law."
When Paul was about to reply, Gallio spoke to the Jews,
"If it were a matter of some crime or malicious fraud,
I should with reason hear the complaint of you Jews;
but since it is a question of arguments over doctrine and titles
and your own law, see to it yourselves.
I do not wish to be a judge of such matters."
And he drove them away from the tribunal.
They all seized Sosthenes, the synagogue official,
and beat him in full view of the tribunal.
But none of this was of concern to Gallio.

Paul remained for quite some time,
and after saying farewell to the brothers he sailed for Syria,
together with Priscilla and Aquila.
At Cenchreae he had shaved his head because he had taken a vow.
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Commentary on Acts 18:9-18

The setting of this selection is part of St. Paul’s stay in Corinth.  There is a strong link that existed between the Jewish faith and Christianity in this early period of the development of the Church. The proconsul, Gallio, a Roman, rejected the charges of the Jewish leadership against Paul, saying that it was an internal affair of the Jewish religion. Christianity continues to flourish in spite of resistance, receiving help in this instance from Rome herself. This example demonstrates the role the Roman Empire, with its transportation system and laws designed to facilitate the incorporation of conquered territories into itself, played in the rapid spread of Christianity.

CCC: Acts 18:18 2102
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Acts 18:23-28

#296 Weekday Years I & II Context (Saturday of the 6th Week of Easter)

After staying in Antioch some time,
Paul left and traveled in orderly sequence
through the Galatian country and Phrygia,
bringing strength to all the disciples.

A Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria,
an eloquent speaker, arrived in Ephesus.
He was an authority on the Scriptures.
He had been instructed in the Way of the Lord and,
with ardent spirit, spoke and taught accurately about Jesus,
although he knew only the baptism of John.
He began to speak boldly in the synagogue;
but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him,
they took him aside
and explained to him the Way of God more accurately.
And when he wanted to cross to Achaia,
the brothers encouraged him
and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him.
After his arrival he gave great assistance
to those who had come to believe through grace.
He vigorously refuted the Jews in public,
establishing from the Scriptures that the Christ is Jesus.
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Commentary on Acts 18:23-28

The story in Acts introduces Apollos who, like St. Paul, continues the rapid spreading of the Gospel. He is clearly an educated Jewish convert (to the “Way”) from Alexandria. Hearing the story unfold, we learn much about him. Note he only had the “baptism of John (the Baptist).” This means that he must have been in Galilee earlier.

We also know that Apollos later becomes a revered leader in the Christian Community. We hear St. Paul speak of him in his First Letter to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 1:12; 3:5-6, 3:22).

CCC: Acts 18:18 2102
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Acts 19:1-8

#297 Weekday Years I & II Context (Monday of the 7th Week of Easter)

While Apollos was in Corinth,
Paul traveled through the interior of the country
and down to Ephesus where he found some disciples.
He said to them,
"Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?"
They answered him,
"We have never even heard that there is a Holy Spirit."
He said, "How were you baptized?"
They replied, "With the baptism of John."
Paul then said, "John baptized with a baptism of repentance,
telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him,
that is, in Jesus."
When they heard this,
they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
And when Paul laid his hands on them,
the Holy Spirit came upon them,
and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.
Altogether there were about twelve men.

He entered the synagogue, and for three months debated boldly
with persuasive arguments about the Kingdom of God.
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Commentary on Acts 19:1-8

While Apollos stays in Corinth, strengthening the Church there, Paul goes down to Ephesus. In this passage, he describes the difference between the Baptism of John, which was for repentance, and the Baptism of Jesus (for forgiveness). It is important to note that the gift of the Holy Spirit is given in the sacrament of Baptism demonstrated here.

CCC: Acts 19:5-6 1288; Acts 19:6 699
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Acts 19:lb-6a

#765 Ritual Mass Context (I. For the Conferral of Christian Initiation, 4. Confirmation, 5.)

Paul cam to Ephesus where he found some disciples.
He said to them,
"Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?"
They answered him,
"We have never even heard that there is a Holy Spirit."
He said, "How were you baptized?"
They replied, "With the baptism of John."
Paul then said, "John baptized with a baptism of repentance,
telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him,
that is, in Jesus."
When they heard this,
they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
And when Paul laid his hands on them,
the Holy Spirit came upon them.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Acts 19:lb-6a

While Apollos stays in Corinth strengthening the Church there, Paul goes down to Ephesus. In this passage he describes the difference between the Baptism of John which was for repentance and the baptism of Jesus (for forgiveness). When Paul "laid his hands on them" they were given a special task and set aside for the Lord.  This was the ritual message implicit in the actions of St. Paul.

CCC: Acts 19:5-6 1288; Acts 19:6 699
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Acts 20:17-18a, 28-32, 36

#568 Proper of Saints Context (St. Gregory VII May 25)

#690 Proper of Saints Context (St. Damasus I Dec 11)

#720 Commons Context (Common of Pastors)

#771 Ritual Mass Context (II. For the Conferral of Holy Orders, 4. [For Bishops and Priests])

From Miletus Paul had the presbyters
of the Church at Ephesus summoned.
When they came to him, he addressed them,
"Keep watch over yourselves and over the whole flock
of which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers,
in which you tend the Church of God
that he acquired with his own Blood.
I know that after my departure savage wolves will come among you,
and they will not spare the flock.
And from your own group,
men will come forward perverting the truth
to draw the disciples away after them.
So be vigilant and remember that for three years, night and day,
I unceasingly admonished each of you with tears.
And now I commend you to God
and to that gracious word of his that can build you up
and give you the inheritance among all who are consecrated."

When he had finished speaking
he knelt down and prayed with them all.
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Commentary on Acts 20:17-18a, 28-32, 36

The steady and lively growth of Christianity has started to spark significant resistance from multiple sources. St. Paul now feels compelled to return to Jerusalem but wants to make sure he has left a final message with the leaders in the region of Ephesus. Here he begins his discourse, reminding them of his fidelity to the message he received from Jesus.

St. Paul is speaking to the presbyters that have been appointed over the various communities around Ephesus (a very large city at the time). Having explained that he is returning to Jerusalem, he does not believe he will see them again. Now the Apostle tells them to be on guard against false prophets and teachers, and against members of their own communities who will spread dissension. He reminds them, finally, to keep focused on the Lord’s commands and to remain charitable.

CCC: Acts 20:32 798; Acts 20:36 2636
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Acts 20:17-27

#298 Weekday Years I & II Context (Tuesday of the 7th Week of Easter)

From Miletus Paul had the presbyters
of the Church at Ephesus summoned.
When they came to him, he addressed them,
"You know how I lived among you
the whole time from the day I first came to the province of Asia.
I served the Lord with all humility
and with the tears and trials that came to me
because of the plots of the Jews,
and I did not at all shrink from telling you
what was for your benefit,
or from teaching you in public or in your homes.
I earnestly bore witness for both Jews and Greeks
to repentance before God and to faith in our Lord Jesus.
But now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem.
What will happen to me there I do not know,
except that in one city after another
the Holy Spirit has been warning me
that imprisonment and hardships await me.
Yet I consider life of no importance to me,
if only I may finish my course
and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus,
to bear witness to the Gospel of God's grace.

"But now I know that none of you
to whom I preached the kingdom during my travels
will ever see my face again.
And so I solemnly declare to you this day
that I am not responsible for the blood of any of you,
for I did not shrink from proclaiming to you the entire plan of God."
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Commentary on Acts 20:17-27

This passage begins Paul’s farewell speech at Miletus. The steady and lively growth of Christianity has started to spark significant resistance from multiple sources. Paul now feels compelled to return to Jerusalem, but wants to make sure he has left a final message with the leaders in the region of Ephesus. Here he begins his discourse, reminding them of his fidelity to the message he received from Jesus.

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Acts 20:28-38

#299 Weekday Years I & II Context (Wednesday of the 7th Week of Easter)

At Miletus, Paul spoke to the presbyters of the Church of Ephesus:
"Keep watch over yourselves and over the whole flock
of which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers,
in which you tend the Church of God
that he acquired with his own Blood.
I know that after my departure savage wolves will come among you,
and they will not spare the flock.
And from your own group, men will come forward perverting the truth
to draw the disciples away after them.
So be vigilant and remember that for three years, night and day,
I unceasingly admonished each of you with tears.
And now I commend you to God
and to that gracious word of his that can build you up
and give you the inheritance among all who are consecrated.
I have never wanted anyone's silver or gold or clothing.
You know well that these very hands
have served my needs and my companions.
In every way I have shown you that by hard work of that sort
we must help the weak,
and keep in mind the words of the Lord Jesus who himself said,
'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'"

When he had finished speaking
he knelt down and prayed with them all.
They were all weeping loudly
as they threw their arms around Paul and kissed him,
for they were deeply distressed that he had said
that they would never see his face again.
Then they escorted him to the ship.
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Commentary on Acts 20:28-38

St. Paul is speaking to the presbyters that have been appointed over the various communities around Ephesus (a very large city at the time). He has already explained that he is returning to Jerusalem and does not believe he will see them again. Now he tells them to be on guard against false prophets and teachers, and against members of their own communities who will spread dissension. He reminds them finally to keep focused on the Lord’s commands and to remain charitable, supporting the community through work, rather than accepting payment for their leadership (using himself as an example).

CCC: Acts 20:32 798; Acts 20:36 2636
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Acts 22:3-16

#519 Proper of Saints Context (Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, Jan 25)

Paul addressed the people in these words:
“I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia,
but brought up in this city.
At the feet of Gamaliel I was educated strictly in our ancestral law
and was zealous for God, just as all of you are today.
I persecuted this Way to death,
binding both men and women and delivering them to prison.
Even the high priest and the whole council of elders
can testify on my behalf.
For from them I even received letters to the brothers
and set out for Damascus to bring back to Jerusalem
in chains for punishment those there as well.

“On that journey as I drew near to Damascus,
about noon a great light from the sky suddenly shone around me.
I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me,
‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’
I replied, ‘Who are you, sir?’
And he said to me,
‘I am Jesus the Nazorean whom you are persecuting.’
My companions saw the light
but did not hear the voice of the one who spoke to me.
I asked, ‘What shall I do, sir?’
The Lord answered me, ‘Get up and go into Damascus,
and there you will be told about everything
appointed for you to do.’
Since I could see nothing because of the brightness of that light,
I was led by hand by my companions and entered Damascus.

“A certain Ananias, a devout observer of the law,
and highly spoken of by all the Jews who lived there,
came to me and stood there and said,
‘Saul, my brother, regain your sight.’
And at that very moment I regained my sight and saw him.
Then he said,
‘The God of our ancestors designated you to know his will,
to see the Righteous One, and to hear the sound of his voice;
for you will be his witness before all
to what you have seen and heard.
Now, why delay?
Get up and have yourself baptized and your sins washed away,
calling upon his name.’”
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Commentary on Acts 22:3-16

This is the second account given in Acts of Paul’s conversion experience. In this account Paul himself recalls his role in the Hebrew Temple as an enforcer. The reason related for his trip to Damascus was the persecution of Christians, whom he was to return to Jerusalem in chains. By this miraculous event, Saul, who is renamed to Paul, becomes a witness to the resurrected Christ and an Apostle.

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Acts 22:30; 23:6-11

#300 Weekday Years I & II Context (Thursday of the 7th Week of Easter)

Wishing to determine the truth
about why Paul was being accused by the Jews,
the commander freed him
and ordered the chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin to convene.
Then he brought Paul down and made him stand before them.

Paul was aware that some were Sadducees and some Pharisees,
so he called out before the Sanhedrin,
"My brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of Pharisees;
I am on trial for hope in the resurrection of the dead."
When he said this,
a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and Sadducees,
and the group became divided.
For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection
or angels or spirits,
while the Pharisees acknowledge all three.
A great uproar occurred,
and some scribes belonging to the Pharisee party
stood up and sharply argued,
"We find nothing wrong with this man.
Suppose a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?"
The dispute was so serious that the commander,
afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces by them,
ordered his troops to go down and rescue Paul from their midst
and take him into the compound.
The following night the Lord stood by him and said, "Take courage.
For just as you have borne witness to my cause in Jerusalem,
so you must also bear witness in Rome."
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Commentary on Acts 22:30; 23:6-11

In this passage about Paul’s return to Jerusalem, the Apostle has been recognized as the one who is converting many outside Jerusalem to the “Way,” and the Jews are furious. A riot has broken out in the Temple precincts (Paul takes a beating), and he is taken into custody by the Romans (probably saving his life).

The Centurion, learning that Paul is a citizen of Rome, allows him to speak to the Sanhedrin which is described in this selection. He has just recounted his conversion story to them, and now fuels an argument between the Sadducees and Pharisees over the concept of the resurrection, which the Pharisees believe in and the Sadducees deny. A second time Paul is rescued from Jewish violence by the Romans and then hears from Jesus that he will be sent to Rome to bear witness there.

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Acts 25:13b-21

#301 Weekday Years I & II Context (Friday of the 7th Week of Easter)

King Agrippa and Bernice arrived in Caesarea
on a visit to Festus.
Since they spent several days there,
Festus referred Paul's case to the king, saying,
"There is a man here left in custody by Felix.
When I was in Jerusalem the chief priests and the elders of the Jews
brought charges against him and demanded his condemnation.
I answered them that it was not Roman practice
to hand over an accused person before he has faced his accusers
and had the opportunity to defend himself against their charge.
So when they came together here, I made no delay;
the next day I took my seat on the tribunal
and ordered the man to be brought in.
His accusers stood around him,
but did not charge him with any of the crimes I suspected.
Instead they had some issues with him about their own religion
and about a certain Jesus who had died
but who Paul claimed was alive.
Since I was at a loss how to investigate this controversy,
I asked if he were willing to go to Jerusalem
and there stand trial on these charges.
And when Paul appealed that he be held in custody
for the Emperor's decision,
I ordered him held until I could send him to Caesar."
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Commentary on Acts 25:13b-21

Here we see the interesting secular response to the “Christian Controversy” from the perspective of St. Luke’s portrayal of the dialog between King Agrippa and Festus. This passage explains why St. Paul’s protective custody is about to be moved to Rome, fulfilling the Apostle’s prophetic vision, "Take courage. For just as you have borne witness to my cause in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness in Rome” Acts 23:11. The Roman Procurator must respond under Roman law to a Roman citizen (which St. Paul claims to be).

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Acts 26:19-23

#577 Proper of Saints Context (St. Boniface, Jun 5)

#720 Commons Context (Common of Pastors)

Paul said:
"King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.
On the contrary, first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem
and throughout the whole country of Judea,
and then to the Gentiles,
I preached the need to repent and turn to God,
and to do works giving evidence of repentance.
That is why the Jews seized me when I was in the temple
and tried to kill me.
But I have enjoyed God's help to this very day,
and so I stand here testifying to small and great alike,
saying nothing different from what the prophets and Moses foretold,
that the Messiah must suffer and that,
as the first to rise from the dead,
he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles."
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Commentary on Acts 26:19-23

This chapter describes St Paul’s final defense before King Agrippa, having been handed over to him by the Sanhedrin. In this defense he portrays himself as a Pharisee of which, he claims, Christianity is a logical continuation. The Apostle contends that proclamation of Jesus, the Messiah is the source of the disagreement with the Jewish leadership. His contention that the proclamation of Jesus was in effect the fulfillment of the Law of Moses (see also Luke 18:31).

CCC: Acts 26:22-23 601; Acts 27:23-25 334
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**Acts 28:11-16, 30-31

#679 Proper of Saints Context (Memorial of the Dedication of the Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul, Nov 18)

After three months
we set sail on a ship that had wintered at the island [of Malta].
It was an Alexandrian ship with the Dioscuri
as its figurehead.
We put in at Syracuse and stayed there three days,
and from there we sailed round the coast and arrived at Rhegium.
After a day, a south wind came up and in two days we reached Puteoli.
There we found some brothers
and were urged to stay with them for seven days.
And thus we came to Rome.
The brothers from there heard about us
and came as far as the Forum of Appius and Three Taverns to meet us.
On seeing them, Paul gave thanks to God and took courage.
When he entered Rome,
Paul was allowed to live by himself,
with the soldier who was guarding him.
He remained for two full years in his lodgings.
He received all who came to him,
and with complete assurance and without hindrance
he proclaimed the Kingdom of God
and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.
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Commentary on Acts 28:11-16, 30-31

In this selection from Acts we hear of St. Paul’s journey to Rome. Once he arrived he was placed under house arrest. He used his affiliation and knowledge of Jewish Law and customs to reach out to the Jewish community in Rome with an eye to conversion. “Although the ending of [the Book] of Acts may seem to be abrupt, Luke has now completed his story with the establishment of Paul and the proclamation of Christianity in Rome. Paul's confident and unhindered proclamation of the gospel in Rome forms the climax to the story whose outline was provided in Acts 1:8—‘You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem . . . and to the ends of the earth.’”[5]

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Acts 28:7-10

#934 Mass for Various Needs Context (III. In Various Public Circumstances, 24. For the Sick, First Option)

In that place there were lands belonging to a man named Publius,
  the chief of the island [of Malta],
He welcomed us and received us cordially as his guests for three days.
It so happened that the father of Publius was sick
  with a fever and dysentery.
Paul visited him and, after praying,
  laid his hands on him and healed him.
After this had taken place,
  the rest of the sick on the island came to Paul and were cured.
They paid us great honor and when we eventually set sail
  they brought us the provisions we needed.
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Commentary on Acts 28:7-10

St. Paul and his companions have been shipwrecked in Malta where they are spending the winter. Have previously demonstrated that he (St. Paul) had extraordinary abilities (see Acts 28:3-6), the Apostle is taken to the father of the local administrator who is ill. We are told he "...laid his hands upon him" similar language was used in Luke 4:38-41, where Jesus also cures through the imposition of hands. The act of invoking God's mercy through prayer to effect the cure of the sick man earns St. Paul the gratitude of the islanders and he is assisted in his journey to Rome, his final destination.

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Acts 28:16-20, 30-31

#302 Weekday Years I & II Context (Saturday of the 7th Week of Easter)

When he entered Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself,
with the soldier who was guarding him.

Three days later he called together the leaders of the Jews.
When they had gathered he said to them, "My brothers,
although I had done nothing against our people
or our ancestral customs,
I was handed over to the Romans as a prisoner from Jerusalem.
After trying my case the Romans wanted to release me,
because they found nothing against me deserving the death penalty.
But when the Jews objected, I was obliged to appeal to Caesar,
even though I had no accusation to make against my own nation.
This is the reason, then, I have requested to see you
and to speak with you, for it is on account of the hope of Israel
that I wear these chains."

He remained for two full years in his lodgings.
He received all who came to him, and with complete assurance
and without hindrance he proclaimed the Kingdom of God
and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.
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Commentary on Acts 28:16-20, 30-31

In this selection from Acts we hear of St. Paul’s imprisonment in Rome and how he used his affiliation and knowledge of Jewish Law and customs to reach out to the Jewish community in Rome with an eye to conversion. “Although the ending [the Book] of Acts may seem to be abrupt, Luke has now completed his story with the establishment of Paul and the proclamation of Christianity in Rome. Paul's confident and unhindered proclamation of the gospel in Rome forms the climax to the story whose outline was provided in Acts 1:8—‘You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem . . . and to the ends of the earth.’”[5]

CCC: Acts 28:20 453
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^ Citation was omitted from Lectionary Index
** Citation is incorrect in Lectionary Index

[1]CCC 1288
[2] See NAB footnote on Acts 11:1-18
[3]See NAB footnote on Acts 14:5-18
[4] In part, from the commentary of Fr. Tom Welbers at Our Lady of the Assumption Church in Berkley, California
[5] See NAB footnote on Acts 28:30-31
[6]The Navarre Bible, “Gospels and Acts”, Scepter Publishers, Princeton, NJ, © 2002, pp. 823
[7] The Navarre Bible, “Gospels and Acts”, Scepter Publishers, Princeton, NJ, © 2002, pp. 763
[8] The Navarre Bible, “Gospels and Acts”, Scepter Publishers, Princeton, NJ, © 2002, pp. 738
[9] The Navarre Bible, “Gospels and Acts”, Scepter Publishers, Princeton, NJ, © 2002, pp. 750
[10] Ignatius Catholic Study Bible, © 2010, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, CA. pp. 220
[11] Ignatius Catholic Study Bible, © 2010, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, CA. pp. 226
[12] Ignatius Catholic Study Bible, © 2010, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, CA. pp. 229
[13] The Navarre Bible, Gospels and Acts, Scepter Publishers, Princeton, NJ, © 2002, pp. 790-791
[14] The Navarre Bible, Gospels and Acts, Scepter Publishers, Princeton, NJ, © 2002, pp 722
[15] The Navarre Bible, Gospels and Acts, Scepter Publishers, Princeton, NJ, © 2002, pp 737
[16] The Navarre Bible, Gospels and Acts, Scepter Publishers, Princeton, NJ, © 2002, pp 807

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