In the Acts of the Apostles, Saint Luke paints an almost idyllic picture of the Early Church. Money and property were held in common. Everyone enjoyed God’s favour. And the Gospel was preached effectively. Saint Luke paints a picture of what a truly Christian community looks like—or would look like if such a community were comprised of genuine, true believers.
But look again. At the top of his list, Saint Luke tells us that the first Christians were “of one heart and mind” (Acts 4:32). The community he describes is not a miracle of human unity but a result of the indwelling Holy Spirit, who alone can bring about such a radical transformation in people’s lives.
Saint Luke isn’t offering a model that we are meant to copy; rather he paints a picture of what can happen when we allow the Holy Spirit to influence our lives. But being of one heart and mind is still the key—we need to be united with the Universal Church and we need to work from the same page. We must be willing to work together, to honour and respect each other, and to submit our minds and hearts to God and to the teachings of the Catholic Church. All this, more than any specific communal lifestyle, is the heart of the unity that God wants for us.
Today’s first reading tells us that if we give the Holy Spirit permission to fill us and lead us, then unity will evolve—in our parishes, in our communities, in our committees. But this doesn’t happen automatically, rather it will develop organically as we learn how to work and live together – of one heart and mind. God alone has the wisdom to teach us how to work it out. God alone can show us what unity should look like in our day-to-day lives. Respect, honour, and cooperation are grand ideals on a human level. But with God, unity of heart and mind can become a living reality.