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Community Sustains Us

One of the most visible impacts of the teaching of Jesus on his followers was on their attitude towards possessions. We see this in our first reading today from the Acts of the Apostles. No one felt justified in keeping their possessions totally for their own use, when others lacked necessities. Those who had much had nothing left over, and those who had little had no want.

The early Christians lived as a community. First and foremost, they were a community of prayer. Secondly, they were a community in which the members truly loved and cared for one another. At the very heart of their community life was the celebration of the Eucharist from which flowed their living lives in serving others. They understood the mandate of Jesus to wash one another's feet by being what they ate and drank at the Eucharistic banquet, the bread broken and the cup poured out in loving service.

The preaching of the Gospel was undertaken by the group of disciples. Even though this was sometimes done individually, there was always the group, the community to return to for companionship and support.

God did not create us to live in isolation. God created us for community, to share a common unity in Christ. One of the concerns of the pandemic is that so many have been forced to live in isolation. However, we need community, a support system to help sustain our faith, hope, and love. 

The fruits of our parish community, of bonding together and sharing, are found in our being together. One of the blessings of our parish community are the small faith sharing groups that meet to pray, share the Word, and discuss how to be faithful in living out the faith. These groups act as a leaven to keep the parish from becoming stagnant. The small groups need the parish to keep them from becoming narrow and inward looking.

In today's Gospel account we heard the familiar story of the Apostle Thomas separating himself from the community. This was a big mistake on his part. In his doubt and grief he walked alone. It was only when he rejoined the community that he encountered the Risen Lord, and so found faith again.

To be a believer, or just a spiritual person, in today's world can be a lonely business. With the help of the community we are able to resolve our doubts and sustain our faith. Community is a vital part of Christian witness. May we continue to walk together in the Risen Lord, who is the Way, and the Truth, and the Life! Alleluia!

St. Joseph, pray for us.

— Father Dennis, April 11, 2021