By Christopher Wells
In his catechesis at the General Audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis said that St Luke shows us the Church in Jerusalem “as the paradigm of every Christian community”. His reflection was based on a passage from the book of Acts: “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (2:42).
In the Acts of the Apostles, we see the early Christians listening to the apostolic preaching, practicing “a high quality of interpersonal relationships through communion of spiritual and material goods”, remembering the Lord in the celebration of the Eucharist, and dialoguing with God in prayer.
The communitarian dimension of the Christian community stands in marked contrast to the individualism of the world, the Pope said. Through the grace of Baptism, Christians were able to share what they had – not only the word of God, but also material goods – with their brothers and sisters in need. It is precisely because of “the way of communion” and concern for the needy that the Christian community “can live an authentic liturgical life,” the Pope explained.
Finally, the Pope said, the story of the early Church reminds us “that the Lord guarantees the growth of the community.” Remaining united to God and to one another is an “attractive force that fascinates and conquers many”.
Pope Francis concluded his catechesis with the prayer that the Holy Spirit might “make our communities places in which to welcome and practice new life, the works of solidarity and communion, places in which the liturgies might be encounters with God, that become communion with our brothers and sisters, places that are always gates open to the heavenly Jerusalem.”