Tuesday the 2nd Week of Easter
(Acts 4: 32-37, John 3: 7b-15)
“The community of believers was of one heart and mind” (Acts 4:32). This unity of the community fulfilled Jesus’s words, “In this shall all know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (Jn. 13:35). Jesus described true love for his disciples. “There is no greater love than this, that one would lay down his life for his friends” (Jn. 15:13). Those who have been grafted to Christ in baptism have been drawn by Christ, near to the heart of the Father. As John put it in his first epistle: “God is love. All who live in love live in God, and God lives in them” (1Jn. 4:16). Our homeland is the household of God (CF. Phil. 3:20), and our resting place is close to the Father’s heart (CF. Jn. 1:18).
The love that binds the community together is the fruit of Christ’s self-sacrificing love for them. It is important to recall that as Jesus died, he breathed out his life-creating spirit on the disciple he loved. That which was received by the beloved disciple is ours to claim as disciples loved by Christ and his Father. This is confirmed by the comment of the prodigal father, “My son, you are always with me and everything I have is yours” (Lk. 15:31). The disciples confirmed the love they preached by the love they lived.
The Father has entrusted all that possesses to us through His dearly beloved Son. Everything we have we have received as a gift from the God and Father of us all. In obedience to the Master, we are to share with others all that we have received freely and without charge. The unity of the community reflected the communion of love of the Trinity. Love graciously received was freely shared. He who promised to be with us until the end of the age wants us to accompany each other throughout our journey to our heavenly homeland. No one should walk the path alone.
Detachment from worldly possessions frees us to be at the service of others. Having nothing to give but an open hand and an open heart enables us to seek out and find those that are lost. If we allow ourselves to be consumed by the fire of divine love, we can become lights of hope to all who walk in the valley of darkness and death. Our task is not to condemn those in darkness. Our task is to be guideposts for them, pointing the way to the light. As they come into the light, they will discover the Truth that will set them free. Because God has been so gracious to us, we should be gracious to all we meet.
Christ is Risen! The empty tomb demonstrates God’s judgment of the world. The barbarity of sinful mankind is overcome by God’s abundant mercy and love. Christ did not come into the world to condemn it. Rather, he took our condemnation to himself and became the fount of mercy to all who would believe in him. He was stripped and in his nakedness, he clothed us in robes of righteousness. In his total self-emptying, he filled us with grace. The Lord who is risen from the dead calls us to display the riches of his mercy by seeking people who are anxious or worried that their past behaviors make them unlovable and rejected. Then, having found them, we need to show them God’s loving-kindness and compassion.