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ARE WE LIVING AS GOD'S CHILDREN?

Father Francis's picture
Second Week of Easter

Acts. 4:32-37 & Jn. 3:7-15

Could you, if you were well off, sell all you have to share it with those with little or nothing? It is asking a lot but this is precisely what the early Christians did. Through Baptism they were aware that they had all become God's children, and brothers and sisters to one another. They were indeed one family.

Today it seems unrealistic to try to model our lives on that Jerusalem community of unselfish Christians dedicated to God and each other. The Church is no longer just a tiny group of friends. It has spread throughout the world. Even within a parish it is impossible for anyone to know every Catholic, and we live in a materialistic world in which nearly everyone is out to look after number one. The life that is lived today by most people is as far away as it can be from Gospel values.

We know that religious orders do try to follow the ideals of the early Church by taking a vow of poverty and sharing all in common. It works because of the small numbers of people involved, and because each person has deliberately chosen that way of life.

But this is not the vocation of every Christian. Most are called as lay people to follow Christ in different ways. A family should be a little Christian community 'united in heart and soul.' Whenever we see a family in which parents are loving and self-sacrificing, brothers and sisters are supportive of each other and the elderly members are cared for and respected, there we can see the Gospel values being lived. A Christian family is sensitive to the needs of others: it may be a housebound neighbour who needs a little help, for example, or an appeal for supplies to be sent to refugees. The Christian responds by giving whatever he can afford to his needy brothers and sisters.

Today's reading is not telling us to sell our homes and live in a commune. It is reminding us that it is possible for all disciples of Christ, wherever they may live and whatever their situation in life, to be caring and loving like that first Christian community.

In the Gospel Jesus compares the Holy Spirit to the wind which is invisible but comes and goes through our homes. The power of the wind can be gentle or a hurricane. The Holy Spirit can be like that too, blowing where He will, always ready to strengthen and inspire the Church.

We cannot control the Holy Spirit nor the direction in which He leads the Church and us. Sometimes an inspiration can come to us which is so compelling that our life will not be at rest until we follow it.

The Gospel closes with Jesus comparing Himself to the brazen serpent in the Sinai desert. The Jews who looked upon the serpent raised high on a pole were healed of its bite. We who look with burning faith upon Jesus raised on His Cross must necessarily enter upon a way of life deliberately focused on Him, a way of life that will surely bring us eventually to share His eternal life.

Holy Spirit, Whose power was felt very strongly in the early Church, we pray that You will manifest Yourself in our lives and make us all more Christ like.

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