Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.
Psalm 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24
Let Israel say,
“His steadfast love endures forever.”
Let the house of Aaron say,
“His steadfast love endures forever.”
Let those who fear the Lord say,
“His steadfast love endures forever.
I was pushed hard, so that I was falling,
but the Lord helped me.
The Lord is my strength and my might;
he has become my salvation.
There are glad songs of victory in the tents of the righteous:
“The right hand of the Lord does valiantly;
The stone that the builders rejected
has become the chief cornerstone.
This is the Lord’s doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
1 John 5:1-6
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the parent loves the child. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For the love of God is this, that we obey his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, for whatever is born of God conquers the world. And this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith. Who is it that conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
This is the one who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ, not with the water only but with the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one that testifies, for the Spirit is the truth.
When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”
But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”
A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.
The knowledge of the resurrection completely changed the disciples and the way they looked at life. Their lives were changed radically as they began to live by faith and they touched the world with their radicalism.
In the book of Acts we see the common mind and heart of the early Church; believers took no ownership of things but pooled their wealth to meet the common good of the community. Touched by the resurrection and the promise of new life beyond this world, the disciples were intent on God’s mission of spreading the good news.
They lived like those today who have a religious vocation and who renounce the world.
Acquiring things is far more common in our culture. In a statistic that bears no resemblance to the early Church, in the past year, only 1% of the U.S. population gained 82% of the wealth. We imagine how we might handle such wealth. But such an imbalance, such an extreme can only indicate hearts that invest in this world and what it offers. But we should never lose faith desiring to have what someone else has.
See how Thomas felt when he learned that he missed out when Jesus appeared to the disciples. Angry and hurt, he lost faith and refused to believe. He began to demand a sign for himself. Jesus told him that those who did not see yet who believed would be blessed.
What does it mean to be a believer? When we believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died and rose for us, we all go on a personal journey of faith. There can be places of doubt or stumbling. We see some people enjoying more gifts or having more spiritual experiences. We might see that our prayers don’t get answered the way we want. Do we continue to trust in God and His mercy? Do we let God heal us in our emotions and our minds and get back on track with him? Do we look to the Kingdom of God knowing that the things of this world are passing and unimportant?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I thank you for the gift of your Son in the resurrection. May I also experience greater faith and new life, trusting in your divine mercy. May my life become an inspiration to others who desire to see more of you. Amen