Today--Monday of the Sixth Week of Easter--the Acts of the Apostles mentions that on the Sabbath, Paul and those with him "went outside the city gate along the river where we thought there would be a place of prayer." Those words struck me before Mass this evening when, at the BU Catholic Center thirty-four young people gathered for the daily Mass. Our Catholic Center, located just outside the heart of Downtown Boston sits along the Charles River. Like the Church at its beginning, so today, disciples found a place by the river to pray. I love each year during the Easter Season that we read the Acts of the Apostles and observe the Church in its seed form. What we live as the Church today must always remain faithful to the original seed. Whenever I witness the life of the Church today being faithful to that original moment in the life of the Church, I find consolation. "Ah, we are doing it right." So, two thousand years after Paul sought a place to pray by the river, young disciples are doing the same.
One of the options for the Easter Season is to use "Alleluia," for the Responsorial Psalm. At the Catholic Center, we use that option every day of the Easter Season. We try to fit in as many Alleluias as possible during the Easter Season. At every daily Mass, we conclude with the Regina Caeli which is filled with Alleluias. Today, the psalm for Mass (Ps. 149) began, "Sing to the Lord a new song of praise in the assembly of the faithful." It was another affirmation to me that we are deeply inserted into the Mystery of the Church. St. Augustine says, "We are an Easter people and Alleluia is our song." Throughout the Easter Season, our daily Mass community lived the life of the Church by being an Easter people whose song is "Alleluia." Occasionally we have a guest come for Mass. I think they are always moved by hearing thirty or so young people chanting the Regina Caeli. They see in these young people the joy of being a disciple. They see what it means to live as an Easter people. They see and are attracted to the new life that Christ brings. To be a Christian is to carry within us the new song of Christ.
Lastly, in the Gospel today, Christ speaks of the coming of the Holy Spirit who is given so that we might not fall away. He will remind us of Christ and all that Christ has spoken. We celebrated this evening's Mass in the midst of Final Exam week when students are expected to remember many things about many topics. Jesus did not abandon us to our own efforts. He sends us the Holy Spirit as a living memory of the presence of Christ. When He dwells within us, He establishes us as the Body of Christ.
Today, as I looked about our daily Mass chapel, I saw young Catholic men and women, who love each other, pray with each other, and who help one another grow closer to Christ. We walk together towards the conclusion of the Easter Season and towards the great Solemnity of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit leads us to places of prayer, most especially to the Holy Mass and to the Eucharist. The Holy Spirit fills us with joy and establishes us as a new people, an Easter people. The Holy Spirit places in our hearts the joy of youth and makes us sing together a new song: Alleluia.