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Acts 5:19-20. But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors, brought them out, and said “Go, stand in the temple and tell the people the whole message about this life.”
In recent readings from Acts, we’ve heard how the community of believers had no private property, shared all things in common, provided for all based on need rather than merit, and were accustomed to finding themselves in jail. Telling the people the whole message about this life would not seem to be a strong selling point.
What was it about those first Christians that, no matter what hardship they endured or sacrifice they were called to offer, made their life so appealing that others wanted to join them? Was it the promise of heavenly reward? Or something about their life right then and there that made it compelling and inherently attractive to others, even if it was not blessed in material ways?
Could it be that as these first Christians were freed from more and more that turned out not to be important, they found more and more joy in what mattered, and that it showed? Could it be that those who give up on material things get some real blessings, more important ones, instead?
Blessings do not flow as rewards. The life lived is itself the blessing.
Today the Church remembers Clare, Abbess at Assisi, 1253.