Today’s first Mass reading from Acts gives us a lot to think about regarding how we treat both the goods of this earth and each other.
We hear today that the early Christian community
was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common….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.
What a vision….particularly looked at from a world in which almost 22,000 children die each day due to poverty 1.1 billion people in developing countries have inadequate access to water, and 2.6 billion lack basic sanitation. Even in our own country over 40 million people don’t have enough food to eat each day and people because they cannot afford medical care.
I am not suggesting that we all sell our homes and put the proceeds at anyone’s feet (or that what we have be forcibly taken from us). But the reading from Acts does invite us to reflect on our attitudes about what we have and toward those who lack.
Do we view our property as our own, to do with as we will, or do we appreciate that our possessions are a gift from God that we hold (in Aquinas’ words) for the purpose of “perfecting [our] own nature and [using] them for the benefit of others”?
Do we view it as a fundamental part of who we are as Christians to care for those who have less than we do?
And as we reflect on such questions, let us pray this day in a special way for the hungry, the homeless, and those who lack access to basic health care. May they be held in God’s loving embrace.