Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.
There was a Levite, a native of Cyprus, Joseph, to whom the apostles gave the name Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”). He sold a field that belonged to him, then brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
When our world seems so fractured and our political conversation seems so broken, it’s almost impossible for us to imagine a community so perfect as being of “one heart and soul.” Yet, the Acts of the Apostles paints a picture of a community dedicated so radically to loving and caring for one another that “there was not a needy person among them.”
There is a temptation to think that some magical, perfect political or economic system might accomplish this harmony, but maybe it’s a more basic and challenging call to each of us: to love one another. Love not in empty words, but in loving so much as to allow the other person to “inconvenience” me—allowing them to make a demand upon my time, my gifts, my energies.
How am I showing my love for others?
How am I loving Christ, by loving my neighbor?
The one who loves gives and communicates to the beloved what he or she has… Each shares with the other.
—St. Ignatius of Loyola, Spiritual Exercises 230-231