Today's Gospel reflection from Leo
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 "son 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.
Whenever I read this passage, I wonder if the early believers were for real? They were of one heart and one mind? Coming from many different viewpoints, we cannot agree to address the current pandemic from a unified perspective. They had everything in common? These N95 respirator masks belong here, don’t they? We made them and we should keep them. There was no needy person among them? We have DTA, community food pantries, and incredible rates of poverty here in our country and throughout the world.
Is this passage a fairy tale, a figment of the writer’s imagination? What did the early community of believers have that we don’t? Perhaps one answer is that “with great power the Apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all.” The early believers did just that: believe and give witness to this belief through their actions. They also had a “community” and an understanding of the common good. Yes, maybe they thought that Jesus was going to come again soon and that they wouldn’t have to live in this other-centered way for a long time. However, their example is still worth pondering. And if we look around, we can see signs of this concern for others in our world right now. It’s in the selfless nature of the health care workers who continue to fight the Covid-19 disease on the front lines. We see it in the gratitude that regular people show these workers by buying meals for them and cheering them on at 7:00pm. We hear about little, and not so little, things that people do every day: letter carriers get needed supplies for older people, grocery store workers go to work to help feed us every day, and police officers and EMTs respond to emergencies in our community. These are all signs that Jesus is with us now; we don’t have to wait for Him to come to us sometime in the future. Perhaps we too can be, or are, people to whom great favor is accorded.