Tuesday of the Second Week of Easter
(Acts 4:32-37; John 37b-15)
Over fifty years ago the Little Brothers of the Poor established their residence in a perilous neighborhood on Chicago’s near Northside. The brothers were a society of French religious who came to the North America to serve the elderly. For a number of years their community thrived as an oasis of peace in a violent area. It nourished both heart and soul of those who came to assist them in ministry. The Little Brothers imaged in miniature what the author of Acts wishes to portray in today’s first reading.
The scene could hardly be more idyllic. Scores of people (perhaps hundreds or even thousands) share the same thoughts and feelings. No one goes in need because no one lords over anyone else. Material resources are held in common with the apostles, tutored by Christ, serving as overseers. These men command such trust that one community member puts his fortune at their disposition.
We should resist the impulse to form such a community today. The one described here did not last long, nor have thousands of experimental communes throughout the centuries. Those who aspire to this ideal, however, might try monastic life with proven rules and certain accommodations to fallen nature. Nevertheless, we should be more generous with our resources by offering substantial portions for the benefit of the poor.