In the first chapters of Acts of the Apostles, we see a unified Church, fired up by the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. In 2:44 we read, “all who believed were together and had all things in common.” In 4:22 we are told they were of “one heart and one mind.” But divisions in the Church already appear in our reading today from the sixth chapter of Acts. In earlier chapters, the Church consisted of all Jewish converts. Now it was a mixed community, with non-Jewish and Jewish Christians. The non-Jewish widows did not feel they were getting their fair share of support.
Notice what happened: first, the apostles called together the whole community to discuss the problem. Second, they had the community agree on a solution. Finally, the solution was implemented and the community moved forward.
My friends, where two or more are gathered, there will always be divisions. That is simply our human reality because we are different, have different priorities, and see things differently. Divisions are NOT the problem. The problem is blaming, gossiping behind someone’s back, undermining, etc., etc., instead of taking positive steps, as did the apostles, to arrive at a solution acceptable to all. The steps they followed are important: involve all, discuss openly, come to an agreement for the common good, and implement.
In our national politics we see the result when two sides are not able to dialog and come together for the common good. We are in deep trouble if the current pattern continues.
I invite us to reflect on the divisions or conflicts that are inevitably present in our lives. How do I approach them? Am I more like our politicians or more like the apostles in today’s reading? How can I become better at working to resolve divisions? As we struggle to do so, let us support each other in prayer. Let us also pray for our politicians, that they can learn to work together for the common good.
Happy Mother’s Day to all our mothers. Thank you for when you model God’s love for us, as you nurture your children.