In today’s first reading from Acts of the Apostles, (Acts 4:32-37), we note that “the community of believers was of one heart and mind, meaning that there was only one church, those who believed in Jesus and what he taught, lock, stock and barrel.
How did they know what Jesus taught? They trusted the bishops, the apostles, to tell them.
How could they be certain that the apostles weren’t teaching them some error or heresy? They had the Holy Spirit to guide them.
Also “no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common…for those who owned property or houses would sell them, bring the proceeds of the sale, and put them at the feet of the Apostles,
and they were distributed to each according to need.”
Some today who think Jesus taught some form of communism (small c, not captial) have it wrong. Communism (maybe a better word is communalism) is like tribalism, where everyone works for the good of the whole. In Fiji, some work in the field, some govern, some fish, some have jobs in town, some even go overseas and send most of their paycheck home to help the tribe. People don’t join a tribe, they are born into it, and that’s the way they’ve lived for centuries. I noticed, when there, that there was nobody that was very poor, and nobody that was very rich, in the tribe. It’s also the tribe that polices its own, for if you disgrace your chief, it reflects badly on the chief.
No, Jesus didn’t teach this. He taught for those who have are to share some (at their own discretion), voluntarily. He taught that we should not be unduly attached to possessions and wealth here on earth, because our true reward is in heaven. So the believers would sell their possessions as necessary to help those believers in need. In this passage, we meet Barnabas, who sold his land for the benefit of the infant Church. This type of giving is a calling by the Holy Spirit to help someone in need.