Scripture Reading for Today: Acts 4:32-37 (read it here)
The Acts of the Apostles gives us a snapshot of “the way we were.”
First, Luke presents the role of the apostles as the new leaders in the early Christian community, replacing the authority of the chief priests and Sanhedrin. The apostles were witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus through the power and authority they exercised. Bearing witness to the resurrection was one of their primary functions.
We also see that the first Christians were, above all, a community of believers. They were not simply separate individuals isolated in their private spirituality and personal relationship with Christ. They were a community and a society of faith. The Risen Christ was present among them as a community in a way that was not available to them as individuals.
A second feature of their life is that despite the diversity of their members, they were united in heart and mind. Distinctions and differences surely existed among them, but the great uniting truths of faith brought them together. Beneath their public roles in society, they were, most importantly, fellow disciples. Gathering with the Church was not only a Sunday duty but an affirmation of who they were at the deepest level.
A third feature of their life was that they were gathered around the apostles. It was the apostolic faith that welded them into a distinctive community of faith that distinguished them from others. They were not simply a community of inquirers and searchers, but believers in the Gospel.
Finally, they shared not only the spiritual goods of prayer and encouragement, but material goods as well. Those who owned property would sell it and give the money to the apostles. The apostles would then give money to each as they needed it; consequently, there was no needy person among them.
This ideal of communion that is pictured by St. Luke in the Book of Acts shows a Church fully alive in the Holy Spirit of whom Jesus speaks in the Gospel. Being of “one heart and one mind” remains the norm against which we can always measure ourselves as a Church and as a parish community.
Luke, the author of the Book of Acts, was not describing a Church of dreams, but giving us a vision of what the Church and parish can be in every age and place. It is not only a glimpse into the past but a look at what our future as a Christian community can be.
Reinforcing the generalized picture of unanimity and generosity, Barnabas is introduced as a concrete example of the community’s life. He set an example for the rest by selling his land and entrusting the money to the apostles. So impressed are the apostles by this generosity that they bestow on him the name “Barnabas,” meaning he is a source of encouragement for the Church.
The Eucharist unites us in Christ, and, as we eat of one bread, we also become one with each other.
Let us also allow the Holy Spirit to radically change our lives and actions.
Led by Mary, let us also establish among us truly deep and caring relationships.
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Que la palabra de Cristo habite y se sienta a gusto en ustedes (Col. 3:16)
Let us make this a blessed day.
Keep Jesus in your mind and heart and share him with all you meet.
Fr. Michael Brizio, IMC
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