Today’s reading from Acts is very beautiful but also quite controversial. Pope Francis said of this reading about the early apostles, sharing everything in common, no private ownership or property, that it is not communism but pure Christianity. He implied that our Christian faith has something in common with the insistence of Communism that no one should have private property. But I don’t believe the Pope was advocating this, just seeing certain parallels.
We live in a culture and nation in which the gap between those who have and those who have not is growing. How can I, who live in a huge, beautiful house in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the city, if not the state, reconcile my lifestyle with this reading from Acts? Simply put, I can’t.
If you read further on in Acts, this idyllic way of living and sharing begins to unravel. Divisions and different ways of living the gospel emerge through conflict. We all have to look at our lives, our possessions, our homes, our money and bring these to the gospel and Christ. How should I be using my comforts and possessions to reach out to the needy? How much do I really need? How much financial security will make me feel secure? How much space do I truly need?
The challenge becomes in answering these questions, looking straight at Christ, raised on the Cross of suffering, who is gazing in love into our eyes, begging a change in our heart. Most likely, this will make us quite uncomfortable because a change of heart will necessitate a change in lifestyle.