The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common. With great power the Apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus,
and great favor was accorded them all. There was no needy person among them. . .(Acts 4:32-33) Here we see the early Jesus movement living according to Gospel values. This is not socialism. This is living the Gospel.
After witnessing the Tax Tea Party Day that was stirred into a frenzy by those who want to pay even less taxes, this lifestyle seems surreal. Maybe it was. It did not last long. Neither did the nonviolence of the early community. Some would say that the community lived liked this because they expected Jesus to return soon. Others caution that this is a Utopian vision beyond our grasp. Regardless, it is the Christian vision, the Christian ideal. We should be striving to emulate this lifestyle under different social conditions which will necessarily alter the practice somewhat.
The command, “Let there be no poor among you” goes back to the Book of Exodus. It is something we should strive to achieve. Sojourners and national catholic bishops’ conference have set a goal to reduce poverty in America and in the world by 50% over the next ten years.
It is a Gospel imperative and it is doable. Gordon Brown, British Prime Minister, says we have the means to achieve the elimination of poverty. We just lack the will. We measure our success as human beings by how much we can acquire and amass in barns. It is a crime when grain sits in silos while people are starving to death every day. Of course we need more and more weapons to guard our silos. It is interesting that we call the places where we store our nuclear missiles “silos.”
Yet, many Christians were in the tax tea party protest. Greed trumps the common good. Political ideology justifies the wiles of the consumer culture. It comes down to a question of belief. Where do we put our trust? Do we trust in expensive weapons and missile silos or in the Good News of the Risen Jesus?
We spend 52% of our budget on defense. We spend more on defense than the rest of the world combined. Gordon Brown is right. All we have to do is change our priorities and the funding to alleviate poverty will follow. We have to ask ourselves what we can do to alleviate poverty and human misery.
“Let there be nor poor among you.” Let the wind of the spirit blow. Let the Spirit of God refresh our vision. Let the Risen Jesus be a beacon of hope for us. Let us prepare to be reborn in the Spirit at Pentecost.