Father Callan’s Commentary on Acts 2:42-47

42. And they were persevering in the doctrine of the apostles, and in the communication of the breaking of bread, and in prayers.
43. And fear came upon every soul : many wonders also and signs were done by the apostles in Jerusalem, and there was great fear in all.
44. And all they that believed, were together, and had all things common.
45. Their possessions and goods they sold, and divided them to all, according as every one had need.
46. And continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they took their meat with gladness and simplicity of heart;
47. Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord increased daily together such as should be saved.

St. Luke in these verses describes the life and practices of the first Christians. According to the Vulgate their occupations were threefold: (a) attendance at doctrine; (b) participation in the breaking of bread; (c) assistance at prayer. But from the Greek MSS. we gather more than this, and find that their rehgious practices were: (a) to assist regularly at the instructions given by the Apostles on the life and teachings of Jesus; (b) to take part in works of fraternal charity for the community of Christians, who were already living together, separate from the Jews; (c) to assist at the ” celebration of the Eucharist” (as it is called in the Syriac version) and receive Holy Communion (which was called ” tJie breaking,” i.e., the eating “of bread”); (d) to assist at “prayers,” which were most likely recited in public at fixed hours.

In the temple. Although the ancient rites were now displaced and superseded by those of the new dispensation, the former were discontinued only gradually. ” Breaking bread ” in verse 46, without the article, unlike the similar phrase in verse 42, probably does not refer to the Eucharist, but only to their ordinary meals which the faithful took together. Still it is very likely that after their simple supper, the Christians partook also of Holy Communion, following the order observed by our Lord in instituting the Eucharist. See on Matthew 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19-23.

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One Response to Father Callan’s Commentary on Acts 2:42-47

  1. Pingback: Commentaries and Resources for Divine Mercy Sunday, Year A | stjoeofoblog

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