First Reading (A): Acts 2:42-47
Living As One
42 The new Christians followed the teaching of the apostles very closely. They always met with the community. They prayed together and shared the Eucharist with each other.
43 Everyone was amazed. The Apostles did many great things that showed God's power. 44 All the believers in Jerusalem were united and shared all they had. 45 Some sold land and personal items. These believers would distribute their profits with the other Christians, especially the needy. 46 Everyday, they prayed in the Temple and shared the Eucharist in their homes. They ate together with happy and simple hearts. 47 They always praised God. And, the people in Jerusalem thought highly of the Christians. Everyday, the Lord added more people to the community of the saints.
42 (The new believers) were constantly attending to the teaching of the apostles and fellowship, to the breaking of the bread and prayer.
43 Awe (kept) coming upon the spirit of all; both wonders and signs (kept) coming through the apostles. 44 All (those) trusting (in the Lord) were together and held everything in common, (that is) 45 they would keep selling land holdings and (personal) property, and they would keep distributing these (moneys and goods) to all, as some had need. 46 Every day, both constantly attending the Temple together and the breaking of bread at home, they took in meals with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. Every day, the Lord added to the (community) those being saved.
2:42,46 "were constantly attending" is a difficult word to translate. The word denoted devotion and time spent. The new believers spent most of their free time and showed a real commitment to the activities that marked the Christian community.
These short verses for Acts presented the ideal possible in the Christian community. Staring and ending with the neophytes, Acts described the drawing power of community living.
Why did the community grow so quickly? The calling card of evangelization was the "wonders and signs of the apostles" that caused an awe among the populace of Jerusalem [2:43]. But there was more. A spirit of unity based upon a common concern, a Christian love. The neophytes were devoted to the teaching of the apostles, fellowship, and worship [2:42]. The Jerusalem community itself attended Temple worship together and shared the Lord's Supper in the homes of the faithful [2:46a]. And they would sell real estate and personal possessions for the good of the needy in the community [2:44]. 2:46b seemed to sum up the reason for their growth: a love and joy that pervaded their lives together. The source and end of that love, of course, was the Lord. The Lord himself gave unity to the early Christians.
How do you express Christian joy? In prayer? In fellowship? In study? How does that joy reflect the activity of the Lord in your life?