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There are cases where there is a seeming, negotiated, hypocritical tranquillity that is just a façade and covers up underlying differences, tensions and divisions. In a (Christian) community, however, there can be true, sincere harmony that has one ideal, common foundation, a true “heart” a true soul, that are fruits of the Holy Spirit. It is fundamental that we do not confuse these two scenarios but work towards a achieving the second. A situation is harmonious when no one is poor and goods are equally distributed so that no one is left wanting. This was Francis’ message at this morning’s mass in St. Martha’s House.
According to Francis, a community united in Christ is also a courageous community, Vatican Radio reports.
The Bishop of Rome pointed to the Church’s first Christians as described in the Acts of the Apostles as an example to follow.
The Pope wished to clearly define the word harmony because it is not simply about some kind of generic agreement, rather it is a gift from above for those who, like the first Christians, are reborn in the Holy Spirit: “We can negotiate some sort of peace … but harmony is an inner grace that only the Holy Spirit can grant. And these communities lived in harmony. And there are two signs of harmony: there is no one wanting, that is, everything was shared. In what sense? They had one heart, one soul, and no one considered as his own any property that belonged to him, but everything was shared in common amongst them. None of them was ever in need.”
“The true ‘harmony’ of the Holy Spirit has a very strong relationship with money,” Francis said. “Money is the enemy of harmony; money is selfish”. “Proof of the first Christian community’s harmony was shown in the fact that they freely gave of their own goods “so that others would not be in need.”
Reflecting on the day’s reading, Francis pointed out the virtuous example of Barnabas who sells his field and gives the proceeds to the Apostles. And in contrast, Francis cites another passage from Acts: that of Ananias and Sapphira, a couple who sell their field and pretend to give the entire proceeds to the Apostles but who in fact, keep part of the money for themselves. That lie costs them dearly; both die on the spot. God and money are two “irreconcilable” masters,” Francis stressed.
Francis warns against confusing “harmony” with “tranquillity”: “A community can be very tranquil…things are fine … But it is not harmonious. I once heard a wise thing from a bishop: ‘There is tranquillity in the diocese. But if you touch on a certain problem – this problem or that problem – war breaks out.’ This is negotiated harmony, and this is not of the Spirit. Let’s say that it’s a hypocritical harmony like that of Ananias and Saphira and what they did.”
“The harmony of the Holy Spirit, he highlighted, also fortifies us with courage. “‘With great power the Apostles bore witness to the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favour was accorded them all:’ namely, courage. When there is harmony in the Church, in the community,” the Pope concluded, “there is courage, the courage to bear witness to the Risen Lord.”