ONE HEART AND ONE MIND
We know from our disappointing experiences how difficult it is to be a real community. We have different personalities with different ideas, attitudes and potentials. The great obstacle is we ourselves: we want people to go our way, and we impose our own views. In our Christian communities, there is one who can unite us in himself. It is Jesus, our model and our Lord. We believe that we come together here in his name and for his sake. He is alive and present among us. He brings us together in one faith and one love. It is a lifelong task. Can we be one heart and one soul in him?
1 Reading ACTS 4:32-37
The community of believers was of one heart and mind,
and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own,
but they had everything in common.
With great power the Apostles bore witness
to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus,
and great favor was accorded them all.
There was no needy person among them,
for those who owned property or houses would sell them,
bring the proceeds of the sale,
and put them at the feet of the Apostles,
and they were distributed to each according to need.
Thus Joseph, also named by the Apostles Barnabas
(which is translated Ason of encouragement”),
a Levite, a Cypriot by birth,
sold a piece of property that he owned,
then brought the money and put it at the feet of the Apostles.
Responsorial Psalm 93:1AB, 1CD-2, 5
R. (1a) The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
The LORD is king, in splendour robed;
robed is the LORD and girt about with strength.
And he has made the world firm,
not to be moved.
Your throne stands firm from of old;
from everlasting you are, O LORD.
Your decrees are worthy of trust indeed:
holiness befits your house,
O LORD, for length of days.
Alleluia John 3:14-15
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Son of Man must be lifted up,
so that everyone who believes in him
may have eternal life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel John 3:7B-15
Jesus said to Nicodemus:
“‘You must be born from above.’
The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes,
but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes;
so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
Nicodemus answered and said to him,
‘How can this happen?”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“You are the teacher of Israel and you do not understand this?
Amen, amen, I say to you,
we speak of what we know and we testify to what we have seen,
but you people do not accept our testimony.
If I tell you about earthly things and you do not believe,
how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things?
No one has gone up to heaven
except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man.
And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert,
so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”
The first Christian community described in the early part of the Acts of the Apostles approximates the ideal of a Christian community. They lived in “an exceptional time of grace,” wherein everyone was “one in heart and mind.” The resources were shared and everyone’s needs were taken care of. But from the later chapters in the Acts we know that such an idyllic situation wasn’t always the case. There were people who did not share their belongings (Acts 5). There were complaints that not everyone’s needs were met (Acts 6). There were differences of opinion even among the apostles (Acts 15).
But such difficulties are to be expected, as our wounded human nature often interferes with the best of Intercessions and stifles the movement of the Spirit in us. However, it is necessary to have a perfect picture of the community we once were so that we can know how far or close we are to such exceptional times of grace. Knowing the gap between the ideal and the actual would help us to close it with the guidance of the Spirit.
One heart and one soul. How dare we say so? We are still far away from this demand of our faith. But we keep hoping. Keep also growing toward it, with the blessing of Almighty God, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!