Wednesday of the Octave of Easter
Today’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles provides a small window into the world of the economy of the Roman Empire. Peter proclaims to the crippled man that he has neither silver nor gold to offer him. No surprise, since coins of silver and gold were similar to someone carrying nothing but $100 bills in their pocket. For most, a small coin frequently designated as a denarius, a daily wage, provided currency for most people. Saying you didn’t have silver or gold was like saying you were not incredibly rich. Keeping this piece of social context in mind, we hear Peter saying that he did not have an incredible amount of wealth but had something else to offer the crippled man, in this case the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Now it would pleasantly simple to say that we should try to live poorly and not worry about money and follow Jesus. If this were the case, the Acts of the Apostles would need to include the way in which most people could pay for Catholic education. The Acts of the Apostles provides an interesting take on financial resources. We see examples of greed as well as charity. In all cases we see the implementations of values concerning how people use their resources. Some use these resources for building up the Kingdom, others for their own personal power. The Acts of the Apostles tells the growth of the Church by means of God’s grace and human cooperation with that grace in terms of choices concerning resources. The Acts of the Apostles do not present resources and the following of Christ as an either/or proposition, but it does present a proposition in which those who heard the preaching of Peter and the other Apostles are challenged to decide their fundamental values and how these values will be implemented.