FOR APRIL 23, 2017
Our First Reading from the Acts of the Apostles presents us with a glimpse of the early Church, the early Christian community. This passage is often misunderstood in some ways. When it speaks of "communal life," that term is based upon a brief translation of a Greek word which means much more that what it might seem.
The Greek word is Koinonia, which is a broad term meaning association, communion, fellowship, and joint participation. It means to share in something. This is an excellent example of stewardship which has meaning for us today. Our parish is a community, one in which we are all called to share and to participate. Koinonia identifies an almost ideal state of fellowship and unity which should exist in the Church, the Body of Christ. It should be more than just attending Mass.
When we speak of stewardship, we understand that it means much more than placing something in the collection basket. It means that we share all of our gifts, our time and talent also, with the community and others in need. It will be difficult for us to ever match the sense of association and the joy of that early Church, but it is a model for us to which we as a faith community should aspire.
To be community and to be in communion with one another and with God requires active participation, not passivity. Father Thomas Merton, O.C.S.O. once wrote: "The deepest level of communication is not communication, but communion...beyond speech...beyond concept."