The resurrection really matters. It makes a difference. Life is different because it happened.
We spend a lot of time during the Easter Season watching and learning about the early Christian community revealed in the Acts of the Apostles. They had so much to figure out, so much to understand. How was their encounter with Jesus to matter, if at all? And especially, what difference was their encounter with the Risen Jesus going to have in their lives?
Today’s first reading from the early chapters of Acts of the Apostles highlights their growing sense of community. Phrases like “the community of believers was of one heart and mind” and “they had everything in common” reveal a deepening understanding of being connected, bound together. In the ordinary lives they lived, these early believes knew they had to live differently. “There was no needy person among them.” And for those who had more than they needed, it was “distributed to each according to need.”
Our cultural tendency toward individualism is a challenge to living our faith. Our political and social differences become exaggerated, driving us farther apart. We self-protect more than we reach out to help. But what so often captures our imaginations are news stories of valiant volunteers responding to neighbors in need, or of communities of sisters, brothers and priests living a common life in communities of faith. We are inspired by them because they tap something fundamental inside us. We know we are our better selves when we are in community, caring for others. The early believers understood this…even if they did not perfectly live it. And we understand it, also. We just need to find simple ways each day to live it.
Robert Hotz is a consultant with American City Bureau, Inc. and was the Director of The Passion of Christ: The Love That Compels Campaign for Holy Cross Province.