Tuesday, April 17, 2012

“There is no delight in owning anything unshared.”

You and I, we are the Church, no? We have to share with our people. Suffering today is because people are hoarding, not giving, not sharing. Jesus made it very clear. Whatever you do to the least of my brethren, you do it to me. Give a glass of water, you give it to me. Receive a little child, you receive me... - Mother Teresa

Acts 4:32-37
The community of believers was of one heart and mind,
and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own,
but they had everything in common.
With great power the Apostles bore witness
to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus,
and great favor was accorded them all.
There was no needy person among them,
for those who owned property or houses would sell them,
bring the proceeds of the sale,
and put them at the feet of the Apostles,
and they were distributed to each according to need.

Thus Joseph, also named by the Apostles Barnabas
(which is translated Ason of encouragement"),
a Levite, a Cypriot by birth,
sold a piece of property that he owned,
then brought the money and put it at the feet of the Apostles.

Go back and re-read the above verse. Then close your eyes for a moment and picture the lifestyle of the early Christians. Our ancestors in faith "were of one heart and one mind. None of them ever claimed anything as his own; rather, everything was held in common" (Acts 4:32). "Nor was there anyone needy among them, for all who owned property or houses sold them and donated the proceeds. They used to lay them at the feet of the apostles to be distributed to everyone according to his need" (Acts 4:34-35). This is the lifestyle in faith we inherited from the early Christians.

You might say it's impossible to live a lifestyle like that in today's world. You would be correct. To live like the early Christians, you'd need to "be begotten from above" (Jn 3:7). You'd have to daily live the "radical newness of the Christian life that comes from Baptism" (Lay Members of Christ's Faithful People, 10). You would need to have a moment by moment, unfailing trust in the constant providence of your heavenly Father to provide everything you need (Mt 6:8, 11).

Does this lifestyle of faith resemble yours?

If we listed each of our possessions, we could probably manage to justify to ourselves a reason for owning each item. However, could we justify it to the poor, who need our help now? Could we justify ourselves to the early Christians?

Can we justify our lifestyle to Jesus?

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