Living generously bears witness to the power of Christ’s resurrection.
In today’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles, we see how the author links
generous living and a lack of possessiveness to the great power with which the
apostles are bearing witness to the resurrection of Jesus.
Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one
claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in
common. With great power the apostles gave their witness to the resurrection of the Lord
Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need (Acts 4:32-35).
God favored the early Christian community because the apostles were proclaiming in
word and deed the great power associated with the resurrection of Jesus.
• The sign of God’s favor is the fact that there is no needy person among them.
• The great power of the apostles’ witness to Christ’s resurrection is attested in the
fact that everyone in the community is being transformed from their former way
of being, such that they no longer hold tightly to possessions they claim as their
own and are generously willing to sell the possessions for the common good of
the entire community.
• In Monday’s reflection, we heard that Jesus brings good news to the poor; here,
we see that good news also embodied in the generous lives of his followers.
A part of this remarkable transformation, grounded in their witness to, and
confidence in, the power of Christ’s resurrection, included the fact that “no one
claimed private ownership of any possessions.”
• The text does not say that ownership of property and goods was renounced; it
says that no one clutched their possessions too tightly or held onto them
exclusively for their own personal benefit.
• Trusting in God’s life-giving power emboldens Christians to live generously,
always knowing that God and the Christian community will respond to their real
Another sign of God’s transformative and life-giving power at work in the early
Christian community is the fact that community members were willing to turn over
the proceeds of the sale of their property for distribution by the apostles.
• Having given up their possessive natures through the witness to Christ’s
resurrection, community members entrusted the apostles to determine the needs
of community members and to distribute community resources accordingly.
• Earlier, in Acts 2:43-47, we also hear the author attributing the numerical growth of
the Christian community to the generosity of its members and the fact that
properties were being sold to meet the ongoing needs of members of the
Questions for reflection
• How does your use of possessions bear witness to your confidence in the power
of Christ’s resurrection?
• How does your Christian community respond to the material needs of its
• Are you willing to trust the leaders of your Christian community with the
determination of the needs of others and the distribution of community
resources? Why, or why not?
• Can you link the ways you see God gracing your life or that of your Christian
community with your acts of generosity to others?
Gracious God, you grace us generously with every good gift necessary for our
common life: fill us with such confidence in the power of Christ’s resurrection that
we are willing to bear witness to his resurrection by living generously toward others,
knowing that is your will for the world. Amen.