April 15, 2012 – Second Sunday of Easter
In today’s readings we learn a great deal about how we are to live as Christian disciples. We have entered into the Easter Season. Christ has risen, and, as today’s readings indicate, the Church that He established lives on. His disciples carry on their faith in Him, and in so doing, they teach us how to do the same.
In the first reading from the book of Acts, Luke paints a picture of what life was like in the early Church. “The community of believers was of one heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions were his own. They had everything in common. … There was no needy person among them.”
Some scholars believe that Luke exaggerated a bit in this passage’s description of life in the early Church. Surely it was not a utopia as this makes it seem. But what Luke’s description tells us is that the early Christians lived charitably towards one another. They loved the Lord, and out of their love for Him, they loved one another. Their lives as Christians were rooted in their faith in Christ. That faith led them to love — love God and love neighbor. And so they lived in love of one another, recognizing that nothing they had belonged to them, and using all they had been given by God in service of one another.
They lived discipleship through stewardship.
Today’s second reading reinforces this theme and emphasizes, for us, the necessity of living a life of love rooted in faith in Christ.
St John tells us, “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is begotten by God, and everyone who loves the Father loves also the one begotten by Him.”
In other words, if we believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, it follows that we must love — both God and neighbor. But John doesn’t stop there. He continues, “In this way, we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments.”
So it is clear, as Christians our life of faith is a life lived actively in love of others.
As Christian stewards today, this is our calling. We believe in the risen Christ, and we proclaim Him to the world, but it is not just by what we say that we proclaim Christ. What we do, how we act, must follow suit.
We’re all familiar with St. Francis of Assisi’s famous quote, “Preach the gospel at all times, when necessary, use words.”
The life of a Christian disciple ought to be lived in love of others, and through those loving actions, people will see the gospel lived out. After all, that’s just what Christ did. He lived for love of others — even to the point of death. And that is what stewardship is all about.
Like those early Christians, we recognize that nothing we have is ours. It all comes to us by way of gift from our heavenly Father, and so it is our responsibility to cultivate and care for it all – our time, our talent, and our treasure — wisely, using it in love of God and neighbor. In so doing, we proclaim the Gospel of Love that Jesus Christ himself preached.