Why fight?, why disagree?, why not get along? Sound familiar? Could this be your house or life in a nutshell?
Well, if we are to believe our reading from the Acts of the Apostles…we have along way to go in becoming a unified community and church, according to their standards. We read that “…the whole group of those when believed were of one heart and soul…and there was not a needy person among them”, for they shared all that they had and held nothing for themselves. What a great snapshot of the early community of Christians. But if you read further into this scripture you’ll see that two of their number were not “on the same page” as the rest of them…and their misbehavior had its consequences. Those two Christians, sold some of their Real Estate and kept some of their profit for themselves. Greed, not generosity overruled their behavior. Things got even worse for them because not too much later they both die sudden deaths. Yikes…talk about a bad cause and affect!
In spite of this short-lived harmony…the Christian community has had its ups and downs but has remained pretty much blessed and forgiven. If St. Luke had stopped writing, just after he described the harmony this community, then we would probably not have an accurate and real glimpse of who they really were. No family is perfect, nor is any Christian community. If there is an Easter message, to be guided by, then it’s the phrase in this scripture reading that refers to that group as “those who believed were of one heart and soul.” That was the ‘cement” that kept the community together even when it went through its not so positive times.
Remember, this was the early church and there were still centuries to come, between them and us, for many success and even failures. Our gospel-Thomas was living proof of that…proclaiming to be one of Jesus’ closest disciples, yet we remember him for one weak moment. Instead of Jesus coming down hard on Tom, he gives him an opportunity to redeem himself. That’s what our resurrected Lord did for them and continues to do for us. He constantly, and lovingly, forgives us and reinstates us in the community. His simple greeting of ‘peace be with you’, are the words we all need to hear. He knows us better than we know ourselves and knows that we need what only He can give to us.
We are only one week into this Easter season and like Thomas we need to remain close to the community of our parish-church. Patience is what’s needed in dealing with others and accepting ourselves for who we are! We are well beyond the empty tomb and now celebrate our faith by bearing witness that the Lord has risen and He is alive in our world and lives. Let the initial joy, excitement, and enthusiasm of that early community be seen and reflected in our lives and parish.