Pope Francis highlighted this during his daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, as he reflected on today’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles and observed that one word sums up the lifestyle and sentiments of the very first Christian community: harmony.
The harmony which bound together the Church’s first Christians, Pope Francis pointed out, “came as a gift of the Holy Spirit,” and was not “man-made” nor a contrived form of tranquil coexistence.”“We can negotiate some sort of peace … but harmony is an inner grace that only the Holy Spirit can grant,” the Pope said, stressing the first Christian community illustrated this. When a community is united in Christ, the Pontiff underscored, it is courageous.
When there is no one wanting, the Argentine Pope noted, this is a sign of harmony.
“In what sense?” he asked. “They had one heart, one soul, and no one considered as his own any property that belonged to him, but everything was shared in common amongst them. None of them was ever in need. The true ‘harmony’ of the Holy Spirit has a very strong relationship with money: money is the enemy of harmony; money is selfish.”
The fact that the first Christian community freely gave their own goods “so that others would not be in need” evidenced its harmony.
While drawing from the day’s reading of Barnabas’ virtuous example of selling his field and giving his proceeds to the Apostles, Francis offered a contrast by citing another passage from Acts which recounts the story of Ananias and Sapphira who after selling their field, pretended to give the proceeds to the Apostles while keeping it for themselves. The Pope pointed out how the lie cost them dearly as the both died on the spot.
God and money, Francis stressed, are two “irreconcilable” masters.
Warning against confusing “harmony” with “tranquility,” the Pope stressed that a community can seem tranquil, but it is not necessarily harmonious.
Never ‘Negotiated Harmony’
“I once heard a wise thing from a bishop: ‘There is tranquility in the diocese. But if you touch on a certain problem – this problem or that problem – war breaks out.’ This is negotiated harmony, and this is not of the Spirit.”
The Holy Father went on to encourage a re-reading of the Acts of the Apostles and their portrayal of the first Christians and their life together, noting we should look to them as examples of how to bear witness in our daily lives.
“When there is harmony in the Church, in the community, there is courage, the courage to bear witness to the Risen Lord.”