READINGS for 2009-04-21
LIFE IN COmmUNITY
There was no needy person among them… – Acts 4:34
I will always be amazed at the blessing of belonging to a Christian community. I witnessed it again in a most moving way after 16 years in our small parish-based prayer group.
Last year, four brothers in our community died one after another, every month. Two died from heart attacks, one from cancer and another from a freak accident. You could imagine the impact it had on our community. Losing people dear to us and trying to comfort their wives at a most difficult time was challenging.
But here is the amazing part — each time, the overflow of love was so palpable. Brothers and sisters from community took turns to sponsor nightly snacks for the wake. There was always an extra pair of hands for anything. Or an extra car if there was a need for one. When a priest was needed, we busied ourselves to look for one so there could be daily Masses. The music ministry was there for the songs. It was so much like family. In this day of seeming self-centeredness, the rising prices of commodities and the over-all economic crisis, it’s surely easy to be tightfisted. But here was a shining example of genuine community life. No needy person among us. What a powerful witness of Christ’s love!Lallaine Gogna
Have you been an answer to someone’s need lately?
Lord, make me an instrument of Your love. Make me sensitive especially to those who need You most. Send me!
The radical response to God’s call is to give everything to Him as we see in Barnabas’ giving over all the proceeds of the sale of his land for the use of the Church. The more we hold back from God, the less opportunity we give Him to work with and bless our lives. I do not speak of blessings here in terms of quantity but quality; we all know that the greater pleasure sometimes comes with the quality of an object, say a sound system, and not merely sheer quantity or size.
32 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. 33 With great power the apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all. 34 There was no needy person among them, for those who owned property or houses would sell them, bring the proceeds of the sale, 35 and put them at the feet of the apostles, and they were distributed to each according to need. 36 Thus Joseph, also named by the apostles Barnabas (which is translated “son of encouragement”), a Levite, a Cypriot by birth, 37 sold a piece of property that he owned, then brought the money and put it at the feet of the apostles.
P S A L M
Psalm 93:1ab. 1cd-2. 5
R: The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
1 The LORD is king, in splendor robed; robed is the LORD and girt about with strength. (R) And he has made the world firm, not to be moved. 2 Your throne stands firm from of old; from everlasting you are, O LORD. (R) 5 Your decrees are worthy of trust indeed holiness befits your house, O LORD, for length of days. (R)
G O S P E L
The English Church owes much to the commitment of Anselm, a Benedictine monk sent to be Archbishop of Canterbury. He did much to evangelize the country especially with the establishment of Benedictine monasteries after being sent by the Pope from a monastery in Normandy in France. Let us pray today for those who serve the Church far from their homelands and give their lives in trust that God Himself
is their all.
7 Jesus said to Nicodemus: “‘You must be born from above.’ 8 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.” 9 Nicodemus answered and said to him, “How can this happen?” 10 Jesus answered and said to him, “You are the teacher of Israel and you do not understand this? 11 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. 12 If I tell you about earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 13 No one has gone up to heaven except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man. 14 And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”
think:The more we hold back from God, the less opportunity we give Him to work with and bless our lives.
God’s special verse/thought for me today________________
T O D A Y ’ S BLESSING LIST
Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Psalm 70-72
When we hear the word “communism” we think immediately of the former Soviet Union, of China or North Korea and other atheistic regimes. Some of them have collapsed, others are still holding on — the question is, for how long? Because they all failed in the main ideal: having everything in common. According to this ideal there would be no rich and no poor people; all are equal; no one owns more than the other. A beautiful dream, but seemingly an impossible dream. In today’s first reading, we read about the same ideal practiced in the first Christian community in Jerusalem: “everything they owned was held in common… None of their members was ever in want… [the money] was then distributed to any members who might be in need.”
This is communism at its best, Christian communism — but it also failed. When Luke wrote these lines decades later, he uses the past tense; obviously the ideal was not practiced anymore. In the end, unfortunately, need becomes always more important than purpose.
A friend sent me the following text message: “In the chase between cat and mouse, the mouse mostly wins. This is because the cat is running for its food and the mouse for its life. Purpose is more important than need.” In our Church, we face the same problem. For years, the Church made “preferential option for the poor” its program — but the result is still to be seen. Simple living Cardinal Rosales with his “Pondo ng Pinoy” is a laudable exception and an example to be imitated. But some priests drive luxury cars while so many faithful in the parish live a miserable life below the poverty line. The ever-growing gap between rich and poor is unfortunately also a reality in Christian communities.
The example of Barnabas in today’s reading is a wakeup call to put needs aside and work for the purpose Christ has instituted His Church: to bring the Good News of salvation and liberation from oppression and poverty to all nations. Fr. Rudy Horst, SVD
Do I have things in excess which I should share with less fortunate people?
Lord, I am ashamed. Like the cat, I put need before purpose and so become the loser. Open my mind and heart and give me the courage to share what I have in excess with those brothers and sisters who have less.
St. Anselm, Bishop and Doctor, pray for us.
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