(Part 37)

April 29, 2014
Today’s reading:  Acts 4:32-37

The first Christian community, established on the day of Pentecost and led by the apostles, was empowered to witness. “With great power the apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus” (v.33a). Communities today, and the whole Church, need to take on certain characteristics in order to truly become powerful witnesses to Jesus.

First, they must be united in vision and mission. “The community of believers was of one heart and mind” (v.32a). They know why God brought them together. They have a clear vision for their mission. Then they commit themselves to the vision and mission, work at these, and defend these. Brethren do not insist on their own vision of things. When there are issues, the vision and mission are the fundamental reference points.

Second, they must be stewards. Thus “no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own” (v.32b). They are not in community for themselves. They do not refer to their own agenda, priorities, preferences, etc. They submit themselves to the direction of the community. They know they belong to Jesus, with all that they are and have. They use their resources for the greater good of the community life and mission.

Third, they must share a common life. Thus “they had everything in common.” (v.32c). They are one body. They are brethren, co-workers and comrades-in-arms. They share a common life and mission. They rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. They watch out for each other. They are their brothers’ keepers.

Fourth, they must be mindful of those in need. “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.” (v.34-35). Jesus came to bring good news to the poor. Judgment at the end of time will depend on what they did for the least of their brethren. They live simple lifestyles. They work at social justice. They help build the Church of the Poor.

With the above, the whole community, and its work, and the lives whom they touch, are blessed. Thus “great favor was accorded them all.” (v.33b). Not the least of which is that they are empowered to witness.

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