Tuesday, 2nd Week of Easter            

            An Arab prince once owned a beautiful horse – a horse that was the envy of all. One man in particular tried to buy the horse, but the prince refused to set a price.

            One day the prince was riding across the desert. He saw the body of a man lying in the path, apparently exhausted. The prince dismounted and put the unfortunate traveler on his horse. Immediately the traveler revived, straightened up, and rode off. It was the very man who had tried so often to buy the prince’s horse. Now he had obtained the horse without paying anything.                  

            “Wait!” cried the prince. “Please tell no one how you got that horse.” “Why?” laughed the thief. “Are you afraid they will laugh at you?” “No,” said the prince. “I am afraid it might hinder someone else from offering help to some other traveler whose need is genuine.”

            Today’s first reading says, “There was no needy person among them.” And it tells us why there were no needy people among them: “The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common.” There were no needy people because they shared everything in common. Wala ni isa sa kanila na umangkin sa anumang pag-aari na kanya lamang.

            The early Christians were a radical group. No doubt about it. They simply did not worry about material things. They were living so powerfully in the light of two events: the resurrection of Christ and the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. These two great events had so much influence on them – so much so that they focused their whole life to waiting for the return of the Lord Jesus – and not on material things.

            These words are instructive: “There was no needy person among them.” Let me raise two points…

            First, the Gospel is for needy people. Let us make no mistake about it: Christ came for needy people. Jesus said, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.” (Mt. 9:12)

            Second, Christ calls us to minister to the needy. That is when we have been at our best: when we have recognized that Christ calls us to minister to the needy. We should follow in the footsteps of the first Christian community. There were no needy among them because they took care of the poor and raised them from their disadvantaged situation.

            Christianity at its best has always understood that this is our task, to reach out to the needy.

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