13TH APRIL 2021
ACTS 4:32-37 PSALM 93:1-5 JOHN 3:7-15 Some people liken today's First Reading to a kind of " Christian communism", believing that such extensive sharing that has been mentioned whereby everything the company of believers owned was held in common not only to be unrealistic but also dangerous. We live in a highly individualized society in which what you own is totally yours and nobody else's.
In this highly individualized society, is it possible to imagine that your parcel of land can be used by another person? What about your car, your house, your income, your livestock? Can you allow other people to have access to them and use them?
Today's First Reading names the facets of the earliest Christian community's experience, character, and intentions in a very vivid way. As much as this First Reading may be difficult to practice, many Christian writings express strong convictions about the importance of sharing material goods with those in need - ( 2 Corinthians 8-9,1 Timothy 6:7-10,17-19, James 2:1-7) The first Christian community was able to do all these because great grace was upon them and it was their way of giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus enlivened by the Spirit of God. This text should not just be seen as a blueprint about model church practices but more about the dynamic power of God working among the believers. How the radical sharing of Acts 4:32-35 speaks to our own church culture today is open to questions but certainly practices of inspired generosity would lend greater substance to our testimony. The church is made up of people who come from a community that knows each other's experiences. In John 20:11-18, in the garden, Jesus at first calls Mary Magdalene "woman " but later calls her by her name Mary meaning he did not just recognize her but be knew her. When we come together as a community of faith with what we have in order to share it, it means we know each other and our needs just as Jesus knew Mary and what she was experiencing. In our parish, we have a tradition of bringing together what we have during the Lenten season as well as during Christmas so as to help the less fortunate according to their need.
Some small Christian communities have even sponsored some children to school and improved the quality of houses in the neighbouring informal settlements. All these are not in vain because only in such fellowship is the meaning of resurrection progressively discerned, demonstrated, learned, and lived out.
As a church, how do we embody the message of Jesus by our life together?