|Sunday - First reading||Acts 6:1-7|
About this time, when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenists made a complaint against the Hebrews: in the daily distribution their own widows were being overlooked. So the Twelve called a full meeting of the disciples and addressed them, ‘It would not be right for us to neglect the word of God so as to give out food; you, brothers, must select from among yourselves seven men of good reputation, filled with the Spirit and with wisdom; we will hand over this duty to them, and continue to devote ourselves to prayer and to the service of the word.’ The whole assembly approved of this proposal and elected Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, together with Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus of Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.
The word of the Lord continued to spread: the number of disciples in Jerusalem was greatly increased, and a large group of priests made their submission to the faith.
The Book of Acts needs a publicity agent. It occupies a tiny space in the Lectionary during the Easter season and when we tried studying it at Scripture we quickly tired of the to-ing and fro-ing. But we were captured by these early chapters as the stage is set for the infancy of the church we were to become. How joyful we were when we read of the ideals of sharing and reconciliation. How quickly it seemed that the culture of the world raised its objections. How hard it was to fight against what had always been.
This was my reading at church this weekend, and whether it was the
Spirit or not, the thought came to me with the 'Thanks be to God' that this is where the Church that Francis so often imagines, went into hiding.
It would not be right for us to neglect the word of God to give out food?
Did Jesus not say that as much as you do to the least of these, you do to me?
Did Jesus not say to these friends of his - 'Feed them yourselves'?
Did Jesus Jesus not say - Be a servant, like me?
But instead, they designated others.
Others, who spread the word by their actions.
The hierarchy was created.
And the priests joined.
The people of God want pastors, not clergy acting like bureaucrats or government officials. Pope Francis