Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. There was a Levite, a native of Cyprus, Joseph, to whom the apostles gave the name Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”). He sold a field that belonged to him, then brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)
The first reading today is one of reorientation, a reorientation only sensible through the lens of our Easter joy. Absent Easter, material goods are ends in themselves, the center of our personal striving in a resource scarce world. As an Easter people, the material world is reordered, made new as abundant gift of God for human sharing. In this first reading today, the early Christian community professes this radical Easter vision: material possessions are not merely ends for our individual need, a means of our personal comfort or sustenance. Rather, material possessions are ultimately a medium to deeper sharing with my sisters and brothers.
Food that was once a scarce resource hunted or grown for personal survival is now the means to deeper communion. Houses that once only provided private shelter now host our human family in fellowship. As we continue in this liturgical season, this Easter vision continues to reorder our norms of human striving, our instincts to horde for only “my own.”
How might you or I more faithfully lean into the Lord in trust this Eastertide, and use His abundant gifts not as ends to our own security but as means for deeper sharing in the human family of Christ?
Prayer of St. Ignatius
Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding
and my entire will,
all I have and
call my own.
You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.
Everything is yours;
do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and grace,
that is enough for me.
—St. Ignatius of LoyolaPlease share the Good Word with your friends!