Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tuesday of the Second Week of Easter

(Acts 4:32-37; John 3:7b-15)

Once as a class project a group of students asked associates to donate their coats to the poor. A number of the associates, thinking their donations were merely an academic exercise, handed over their coats with full expectation of reclaiming them. But when the class ended, the group conducting the exercise indicated that they intended to take the coats to a redistribution center.

Complete sharing is a remarkable phenomenon. The reading from Acts proclaims that “with great power the Apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord...” It does not specify the acts of witness, but certainly its next sentence describing people selling their property so that sales’ proceeds might be given to the Apostles for redistribution provides a remarkable testimony of faith.

Such attempts at radical communal sharing usually break down like chain letters after a short while. It is commonly thought that Luke, the writer of Acts, is giving an idealized portrait of the apostolic community in the text today. But just because experiments in communal sharing fail to maintain the high ideals they set out to achieve does not mean that they should not be proclaimed. A sage once commented, “Giving has never made anyone poor.” Indeed, the opposite forms the truism. Stories inspiring people to give more cause many to grow rich, spiritually at least but also, rather mysteriously, materially as well.