Boy, with a quote like that, sounds like I’m pushing a communist/socialist agenda, eh? Quite the contrary. What we read about in today’s first reading is about a community of believers – believers in God, believers in the Risen Christ, people filled with the Holy Spirit. These people made a free will decision to live this communal life. God was the head of their community and that is why it worked so well (and still works today). I will post the footnotes for you on today’s first reading…
* [4:32–37] This is the second summary characterizing the Jerusalem community (see note on Acts 2:42–47). It emphasizes the system of the distribution of goods and introduces Barnabas, who appears later in Acts as the friend and companion of Paul, and who, as noted here (Acts 4:37), endeared himself to the community by a donation of money through the sale of property. This sharing of material possessions continues a practice that Luke describes during the historical ministry of Jesus (Lk 8:3) and is in accord with the sayings of Jesus in Luke’s gospel (Lk 12:33; 16:9, 11, 13).
This is the second summary – here are the notes on the first summary…
* [2:42–47] The first of three summary passages (along with Acts 4:32–37; 5:12–16) that outline, somewhat idyllically, the chief characteristics of the Jerusalem community: adherence to the teachings of the Twelve and the centering of its religious life in the eucharistic liturgy (Acts 2:42); a system of distribution of goods that led wealthier Christians to sell their possessions when the needs of the community’s poor required it (Acts 2:44 and the note on Acts 4:32–37); and continued attendance at the temple, since in this initial stage there was little or no thought of any dividing line between Christianity and Judaism (Acts 2:46).
and the third summary…
* [5:12–16] This, the third summary portraying the Jerusalem community, underscores the Twelve as its bulwark, especially because of their charismatic power to heal the sick; cf. Acts 2:42–47; 4:32–37.
So who lives like this anymore? We as Catholics – we as Christians – live like this. Is not a collection taken up at Mass? Are we not preparing to give to the Annual Appeal here in St. Louis? How about the Pope giving aid to the Mexican communities in support of feeding, housing and caring for the refugees in that area. That money came from a fund called Peter’s Pence. How is Peter’s Pence funded? From people like you and me who offer that gift from the gifts that God has given us. Catholic Charities, Catholic Hospitals, Catholic Schools (along with many other Christian faiths who do the same good) are all examples of what we read about in today’s first reading. We are all living this communal life – a life of sacrifice, a life of prayer, a life in the image and likeness of Christ.
There are many great results from this. We learn to share freely with others what God has so freely shared with us; we teach our children that giving to the Church is an act of free will, an act that does good for many people we may never meet or ever know exist. But the best result of this, as is mentioned in our reading today, is that like the early Church, our numbers continue to grow. St. Mary Magdalen accepted 5 adults into the Church at Easter – how many in your parish?
We must continue to live this life of Christian community. If we do, we will all benefit from the good it does for all. There is strength in numbers but there is perfect strength living a live ordained by Christ.
Do something great for our Lord today – thank Him for your faith and give to the community we call our Church so that our wealth can be distributed among those in need. This is the day the Lord has made; let us be glad and rejoice in it.
God’s will, not mine, be done.
Be not afraid; just have faith.
Jesus, I trust in You.
He must increase; I must decrease.