Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Tuesday word, 17 April 2007

2Easter Tuesday (17 Apr 2007) Ac 4. 32-37; Ps 93; Jn 3. 7b-15
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Another Unifying Effect

Yesterday we heard that the first Christian community spoke with one voice in praise of what Peter and John told them they had done and had suffered for preaching the name of Messiah Jesus. Unity is a feature of the early Christians which has never left us.

Today we heard an effect of this unity: friendship. Luke did not use the word, but that is clearly what he meant. The community of believers was of one heart and soul, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common.

We know that because friends in the ancient, Greek speaking world had been defined as having one soul. This definition was in use so long before Aristotle that when he cited it in one of his writings, he cited common knowledge. Luke shaped it in a biblical way by adding heart: one heart and soul.

Similarly, friends held in common all they possessed. Luke was advancing friendship, as it was honored and sought in his time, to describe one more effect of Holy Spirit on the community of the crucified and risen Messiah. To hold everything in common was a new self-understanding, one to which Christians today are still adjusting.

While we are not ancient Mediterraneans we have inherited this friendship imagery without realizing it. On some levels we believe that friendship is, to use Jesus phrase, an earthly thing[]. If we do not believe and practice it on earth, how will we believe Jesus when he communicates to us about heavenly things, in particular that he is risen from the dead?

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