During today’s homily of the morning Mass celebrated at St. Martha’s House, Pope Francis focused on the lifestyle of the first Christian community, as it is described in the Acts of the Apostles. An entire community that lived in “harmony”: a word, whose meaning is not obvious because it is not about harmony of some kind, but about “a gift of the Spirit”. “We can make agreements or establish a certain kind of peace… whereas harmony is an inner grace which can be done by the Holy Spirit alone,” the Pontiff said. “And there are two signs of it: no one was in need, everything was shared. What do you mean? They had one heart, one soul, and no one considered what they owned to be their property. Everything was shared among them. None of their members was ever needy.”
Then, Pope Bergoglio talked about the slavery of money: “The true ‘harmony’ of the Holy Spirit has a very strong relationship with money: money is the enemy of harmony, money is selfish. Therefore, everyone gave for no one to be in need.” The Pope takes the virtuous example offered in the Acts: Barnabas who sells his field and gives the proceeds to the Apostles. The following verses – which were not part of today’s reading, but were mentioned by the Holy Father – take the opposite example: that of Ananias and Sapphira, a couple which pretends to give what was earned from the sale of a field, while keeping the money for themselves, a choice that will lead them to death.
God and money are two masters “whose service is incompatible”, Francis repeats. Right afterwards he clarifies also a misunderstanding that might arise from the concept of “harmony”. It should not be confused, he says, with “tranquility”: “A community can be very serene, function well: things are fine… but it is not harmony”. “Once, I heard a wise thing from a bishop – the Pope said -: ‘In the diocese there is tranquility. But if you touch one problem or another, war breaks out at once’. It would be a negotiated harmony and it is not the harmony of the Spirit. Let us say, this ‘harmony is hypocritical, like that of Ananias and Saphira with what they did.”
The Pope invited the faithful to read the Acts of the Apostles about the early Christians and their life together. “We will do well,” he says, because “The harmony of the Holy Spirit gives us this generosity they have nothing as their own, while there is a need. The harmony of the Holy Spirit gives us a second attitude: ‘With great power, the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon all’, that is courage. ” “When there is harmony in the Church, in the community – said Bergoglio – there is the courage, the courage to bear witness to the Risen Lord”.
The Pope invited the faithful to read again the Acts of the Apostles about the early Christians and their life together. “It will be good for us,” he says, because “the harmony of the Holy Spirit gives us this generosity of not having anything of our own, while there are people in need. The harmony of the Holy Spirit gives us a second approach: ‘With great force, the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon everyone’, that is, courage.” “When there is harmony in the Church, inside the community – Bergoglio said – there is courage, the courage of bearing witness to the Risen Lord”.