VATICAN CITY (CNS) — True harmony within a Christian community ensures that none of its members is left wanting and places the needs of others before the selfish desire for money, Pope Francis said.
“The true ‘harmony’ of the Holy Spirit has a strong relationship with money. Money is the enemy of harmony, money is selfish,” the pope said April 5 during his morning Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae.
The pope reflected on the day’s first reading from the Acts of the Apostles (4:32-37), which said the first Christian communities were “of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common.”
There are two signs of harmony exemplified by this community, he said, stressing that the first sign was that no one was needy. Barnabas, for example, sold the property he owned and placed the money “at the feet of the apostles.”
However, he continued, the following chapter of the Acts of the Apostles recounts the story of a couple, Ananias and Sapphira, who kept a part of their money for themselves. The pope said that to serve both God and money is not only “irreconcilable” but gives way to a misunderstanding that equates tranquility with harmony.
“Harmony is an interior grace that can only be made by the Holy Spirit,” he said.
“A community can be very tranquil; everything is going well, but it is not harmony,” he said. “One time I heard a bishop say something very wise: ‘There is tranquility in the diocese. But if you touch on this problem or that problem or that problem, immediately there is war.’ This is a negotiated harmony and it is not of the Spirit. It is a hypocritical harmony, like that of Ananias and Sapphira.”
Pope Francis called on the faithful to reflect on how the first Christians lived out their faith through generosity, which brought about the second sign of true harmony: courage.
“‘With great power, the apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all,’ that is to say, courage,” he said. “When there is harmony in the church, in the community, there is courage; the courage to give witness to the Risen Lord.”