Ideal vs. Real Christian Living
Again, my apologies. The video feed cut off just before mass and I didn’t see it from behind the altar. So there was no video recording at all. But I’m glad I set up an audio recorder. And with that …
The Acts of the Apostles presents us an idealized picture, a romanticized picture of community life in those early days of the church. That’s perhaps why some Christian communities would like to take us back there, minus all the historical development of the last 2000 years. Granted they were smaller in number and likely from the same section of the civic community, plus they had the Apostles to guide them with authority and credibility, they shared a common perspective without much dissent. Their unity was based on professing one faith, being one in mind and heart, and being gathered around the Apostles. And that faith expressed itself vividly in their care, both spiritual and material, for one another.
The pharisee Nicodemus met with Jesus under cover of darkness, a symbol of his search for faith that he was still uncomfortable sharing with his friends. He was unable to grasp Jesus’ teaching of being born from above. For sure it was not an easy teaching to grasp. But Jesus was hinting that the Spirit of God at work in the believer’s mind and heart enables this new understanding of God, oneself, and the world. Faith is both God’s gift and our response. A purely human attempt to understand divine truth will fall short. God’s Spirit must draw us to a renewal of our minds and hearts first.
Even among those who claim faith in Jesus Christ today, we can have very differing perspectives on thorny matters like freedom of speech, immigration, economic assistance to the poor, to name a few. But perhaps if faith in Jesus’ resurrection enlightened our understanding, we would not be so divided. The Kingdom is already here, he has said before. And God’s Spirit brings renewal to our minds and hearts. The measure is still our care for one another. How do you think we’re doing?
This mass was offered for the repose of +Maryann McAuliffe.
Rolo B Castillo © 2020