Sunday, April 19, 2009

... to each according to need.

To-day's first scriptural reading was from the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 4, verses 32-35:
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. With great power the apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all. 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. ― NAB

Multitúdinis autem credéntium erat cor unum et ánima una : nec quisquam eórum quæ possidébat, áliquid suum esse dicébat, sed erant illis ómnia commúnia. Et virtúte magna reddébant Apóstoli testimónium resurrectiónis Jesu Christi Dómini nostri : et grátia magna erat in ómnibus illis. Neque enim quisquam egens erat inter illos. Quotquot enim possessóres agrórum aut domórum erant, vendéntes afferébant prétia eórum quæ vendébant, et ponébant ante pedes Apostólorum. Dividebátur autem síngulis prout cuíque opus erat.

And the multitude of believers had but one heart and one soul: neither did any one say that aught of the things which he possessed, was his own; but all things were common unto them. And with great power did the apostles give testimony of the resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord; and great grace was in them all. For neither was there any one needy among them. For as many as were owners of lands or houses, sold them, and brought the price of the things they sold, And laid it down before the feet of the apostles. And distribution was made to every one, according as he had need. ― DRC
How many people in the congregation were listening? Did anyone who was not in the habit of church going, or Scripture reading, yet educated otherwise, hear something that sounded familiar? Were any angered? made uncomfortable? Will any consider? or take heart?

This is the first reading in year 'B'. The first reading in year 'A' is:
They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their property and possessions and divide them among all according to each one's need. Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple area and to breaking bread in their homes. They ate their meals with exultation and sincerity of heart, praising God and enjoying favor with all the people. And every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved. ―Acts of the Apostles ii. 42-47. NAB

And they were persevering in the doctrine of the apostles and in the communication of the breaking of bread and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul. Many wonders also and signs were done by the apostles in Jerusalem: and there was great fervor in all. And all they that believed were together and had all things common. Their possessions and goods they sold and divided them to all, according as every one had need. And continuing daily with one accord in the temple and breaking bread from house to house, they took their meat with gladness and simplicity of heart: Praising God and having favour with all the people. And the Lord increased daily together such as should be saved.
Acts of the Apostles ii. 42-47. DRC
To-day, being the Octave of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday and Doubting Thomas Sunday, it is easy for a homilist to not comment on this reading, making it convenient for either him, or the congregation, or both. Some of these people would rather not examine their consciences on those sentiments, and if those lines were said, without attribution, or even with, in public civil discourse, they might not receive a friendly hearing. And there are certain professing christians, who would, twist into convolutions the words of Scripture on similar sentiments. This sort of radicalism, or extremism, by Jesus is not welcoming to all, it can be most discomfitting.

No comments: