The Breaking of the Bread!

Acts 2:42

And they devoted themselves to the Apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

One of the earliest titles given to the Eucharistic banquet is "the breaking of bread."  It is such an unobtrusive title that many non-eucharistic Christians never notice it when they read Acts 2. "The breaking of bread and the prayers" refers not to little informal holy potlucks but to the liturgy of the Eucharist.  It met in informal surroundings like the houses of believers (since there were no church buildings back then) but it was always liturgical.  Makes sense really, since liturgy was the only form of communal prayer known to the Jews of antiquity.  And liturgy is not a thing imposed on freedom-loving "simple Christians" by hierarchs, bureaucrats and priestcraft.  It is a thing that springs up naturally (and supernaturally) from the Jewish soil of the Church, since Judaism is itself a rich liturgical tradition.  That is why the word "liturgy" means "the work of the people."  Worship is the work of the people.  Today, join in that work!

Mark Shea


Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog and regularly blogs for National Catholic Register. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.

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