“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.” (Acts 4:32)
As the Acts of Apostles relate, the group that gathered around the Apostles after the resurrection of Jesus were not called Christians at first, but were simply referred to as “believers.” This word is quite instructive.
To believe in something is to be convinced deep within about that thing and belief has a way of affecting everything one does or refuses to do. Belief goes beyond ones’ identity. I may dress like a motor mechanic so as to be identified as one (and thereby receive the benefits due to a mechanic) but this external identification will not make me one.
The scandal of Christianity today is that even though we seem to identify with the faith (gather regularly to worship), we no longer believe in Jesus’ teachings not to mention loving our neighbours as ourselves. In the name of modernity, we have sought to re-write the commandments of God.
Once upon a time, a rich young man asked Jesus about the secret of inheriting eternal life. Ultimately, Jesus told him to sell all his possessions and give the money to the poor after which, he could return to follow Jesus. It is interesting to note that this group of believers literally kept this instruction, they sold their possessions, brought them together and were united in one heart and soul.
Christianity especially in our society today has become largely reduced to the worship of wealth. Rather than sell our possessions to give to the poor, we sell the poor to amass riches for ourselves (There are people who sell children today). The Gospel of Prosperity has blinded our eyes to the fact that we do not belong to this world. Rather than preach love for one another, we preach that poverty is a curse.
In his conversation with Nicodemus, Jesus said: “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.” (John 3:15). Jesus did not say: “whosoever believes in him may enjoy supernatural riches, drive the latest cars or live in the best mansions.” Today, many Christians believe that if they are not materially rich, something is wrong.
Our first reading today is a reminder to us that the greatest of all of God’s commandments is to love our neighbours as ourselves. Love cancels our selfishness. Love melts our hearts to live not just for ourselves but for others. Love opens our eyes to see the sufferings of others and touches our heart to offer solutions. Love opens us to the realization that as long as there is one person suffering amongst us, none of us can ever be secure.
Your problems may appear big and insurmountable but know that there are persons with far bigger problems. If only you let love shine in your heart, you could just be the answer to someone’s prayer today. Let us be of one heart and soul.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, make me realize that my true security is in kindness to others. Amen.
Bible Study: Acts 4:32-37, Psalm 93 and John 3:7b-15