The early Christian community shared their resources so that no one was in need. Their example inspires us to consider how we might use wisely our material goods in order to alleviate the suffering of our brothers and sisters.
The Lord describes us as Salt and Light, two things that while good in themselves are also precious when shared with others. With salt our food is tasty and preserved; with light we can see and find our way on the journey of life. May we share our lives with one another, giving glory to God for blessings we have received.
The readings today give us a snapshot of some key points that surfaced shortly after the Lord’s resurrection:
1st Reading – Thankful praise and sharing in community life
Psalm – “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, His love is everlasting.”
2nd Reading – Christ’s resurrection lets us rejoice in the midst of trials
Gospel – Doubting Thomas
What do we see? Praise, gratitude, thankfulness, sharing, community life, overcoming doubt, facing trials, and rejoicing! In other words, this is what happens to a group of people who have been transformed by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
And I want to live like this.
Frankly, I want all of us to live like this. Filled with God’s grace, empowered by the Holy Spirit, engaging life at full throttle, dealing with difficulty through the power of faith….is there any other way to live?
So…in the light of these concepts that emerged from the fledgling Church…what’s keeping us from this? Has the resurrection of the Lord “sunk in” and touched our hearts? Do we understand what it means to say “The Lord is risen! He is risen, indeed!” as followers of Jesus Christ?
Do we get it?
We all have obstacles, challenges, and the reality of temptation and sin in our lives. That was true for the Early Church as well. But note this: they changed. In the light of the Risen Lord their lives were forever altered: praising God, facing hardship, working together, filled with joy.
This is our invitation today, and it works in three simple steps:
Accept the resurrection of Jesus Christ
Bring the Lord’s power into your heart
Change whatever is not worthy of Heaven and live in his Light
There is no better way to journey through this life!
“The community of believers was of one heart and mind…” (Acts 4:32)
I marvel at the transformation of the disciples. Before the resurrection of Jesus they were filled with fear, paralyzed by their own weakness and doubt; after the resurrection they are changed, as evidenced in even the basic ways they lived and worked together.
One heart and mind!
Unity can be challenging in even the best circumstances: we see things differently, hold our own unique values and principles, as well as personal tastes and interests. Working together is tough, yet it is a common sign of holiness – the practical proof that we are doing our part to build the Lord’s kingdom here on earth.
What supports unity? Jesus Christ! Unity with Christ provides the grace for unity with Christ’s brothers and sisters; this clear sign of faith draws others to the Good News and fosters our community with one another. Take a look at a few of the patterns that emerge in today’s readings:
1st Reading – sharing according to need
Psalm – giving thanks to the Lord
2nd Reading – love of God by keeping his commandments
Gospel – Christ’s peace that overcomes doubt
Another way to say it: Sharing, Gratitude, Love, Peace – which find their source in Jesus and flow through us to the those we meet. I would suggest that the disciples used these building blocks to form the first elements of the Church, working together in unity with the grace of Christ to proclaim the Good News.
This work continues today. We all know firsthand the effects of discord – where lives are broken and fragmented by selfishness, fear, hate, and a hardness of heart – yet we believe in something greater…Christ is triumphant! Our response can mirror the disciples:
We acknowledge the obstacles in our lives
We turn to Jesus Christ and call upon his grace
We allow the Lord to work through us to unite with one another
May we bring these powerful blessings of the resurrection to our world today:
Sharing the gifts God has given us
Grateful for the blessings we have received from on high
Loving others as Christ loves us
Bringing the Lord’s peace to those before us
One heart and mind!
Resurrection, Szymon Czechowicz; 1758, oil on canvas, 525 x 392 pixels, Olesko Castle, Ukraine.