Monday, April 13, 2015

Living the Acts

People will sometimes ask why don't we see the same kind of miracles today that we read about in the Bible? Perhaps the answer is in part found in a single word in the Acts of the Apostles. This word appears 11 times. The word is homothumadon. We translate it into English as "with one accord."

The image contained in the word is one that we may not associate with Christians. The first part of the word homo means of course one/ same. The second part comes from thumos a word that conjures up the image of a person breathing hard. It means passion or fierceness. It is not simply that they were in agreement, but they shared a passion for the gospel.

When the Acts of the Apostles repeated says that the community of believers were homothumadon, it paints a vibrant image of people filled with the Spirit who are then transformed into a single passionate voice fearlessly proclaiming the truth of the gospel.

If we look at Christianity today we see neither unity nor courage. Can we even count the divisions? And how many churches are more concerned with filling the pews than with speaking the truth?

This weekend Pope Francis reminded us why Jesus gave the Church one leader, Peter and his successors. Speaking with the one voice that is uniquely his, he said aloud what the world knows but is afraid to admit. He called the Armenian genocide the first genocide of the 20th century. He was actually quoting from a 2001 statement by Pope St. John Paul II,

Imagine for just a moment even the Catholic leaders uniting their voices with the Holy Father. Imagine the more than 2 billion Christians uniting their voices. If we cannot speak with one voice about the past how can we hope to speak about the present or the future?

It is not God who acts differently today it is the Christians. The Holy Spirit we receive in the sacraments is the same Holy Soirit poured out on that first community. If we want to see the same kind of miraculous action we must once more become homothumadon. And the best place to begin is with ourselves. How can we be end the division in our parish and diocese? Sometimes we have to go even smaller a start with a particular group within the parish that we belong to. Start with ourselves and work outward.

As we recover our unity and our passion we will see the working of the Spirit grow. We read the stories of the Acts of the Apostles to remind us what we once were and what we can be.