By Courtney Grogan
Pope Francis said Wednesday that there is no room for selfishness in the Christian life, pointing to the example of the lives of the early Christians in the Acts of the Apostles.
“The community of believers banishes individualism in favor of sharing and solidarity. There is no place for selfishness if you are a Christian,” Pope Francis said in St. Peter’s Square June 26.
Looking at the Acts of the Apostles, one can see that they lived in a very specific way, Pope Francis explained, “They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread, and to the prayers.”
Pope Francis said that this line from Scripture contains the four essential qualities in the Christian life:
“Christians listen constantly the didaché or apostolic teaching; they practice a high quality of interpersonal relationships through the communion of spiritual and material goods; they remember the Lord through the ‘breaking of bread,’ that is the Eucharist; and they dialogue with God in prayer,” he said.
The pope pointed out that this way of life contradicts the individualist tendency in human society to “pursue one’s own interests regardless or even to the detriment of others.”
“Baptismal grace therefore reveals the intimate bond between the brothers in Christ, who are called to share, to identify themselves with others, and to give according to the needs of each one,” he said.
“The fruit of Pentecost, the powerful outpouring of the Spirit of God on the first Christian community, was that many people felt their hearts pierced by the happy announcement – the kerygma – of salvation in Christ and adhered to Him freely, converting, receiving baptism in his name and in turn accepting the gift of the Holy Spirit,” he said.
The perseverance of believers in this covenant with God and with each other then became an attractive force guaranteeing the growth of the community, Francis explained.
“Let us pray to the Holy Spirit to make our communities places where we can welcome and practice the new life, works of solidarity and communion, places where liturgies are an encounter with God, which becomes communion with our brothers and sisters, places that are doors open to the heavenly Jerusalem,” Pope Francis said.