"The community of believers were of one heart and one mind. None of them ever claimed anything as his own; rather, everything was held in common." —Acts 4:32
After the Holy Spirit gave birth to the Church at Pentecost, the Church began to live the communal life in a very practical way. "Those who believed shared all things in common; they would sell their property and goods, dividing everything on the basis of each one's need" (Acts 2:44-45). This communal sharing of property and goods was not just an ideal but something very real. "All who owned property or houses sold them and donated the proceeds" (Acts 4:34).
"There was a certain Levite from Cyprus named Joseph, to whom the apostles gave the name Barnabas (meaning 'son of encouragement'). He sold a farm that he owned and made a donation of the money, laying it at the apostles' feet" (Acts 4:36-37). The communal sharing of property was so widely practiced in the early Church that there was peer pressure in this area. For example, Ananias and Sapphira didn't feel comfortable saying that they gave the Church most of the proceeds from their sale of a piece of property. They lied and said they had given it all (Acts 5:3ff).
Why isn't the Church today sharing "all things in common"? Are our times different? If anything, our world today needs more than ever the witness of communal sharing. Then, with power, we will bear "witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus" (Acts 4:33).
Prayer: Father, in my lifestyle, I will not be conformed to this present age but be transformed by the Holy Spirit (Rm 12:2).
Promise: "The wind blows where it will. You hear the sound it makes but you do not know where it comes from, or where it goes. So it is with everyone begotten of the Spirit." —Jn 3:8
Praise: Antonio gave up a lucrative pension, retired early, sold his home and possessions, and moved out of state so that he and his wife could minister full-time with a community of believers.
Reference: (For more teaching, order our booklet, Christian Home-Based Communities.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, November 2, 2012
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