What prisons are we in? Selfishness, anxiety, fear, anger, or hatred?


Our today’s reading from Acts reminds us that we Christians are all called to share the Good News about Jesus. Some of the apostles had been arrested for preaching about Jesus, and had been placed in a public prison. The apostles felt compelled to tell the story of Jesus and invite others to join them, so that they, too, might be saved. I wonder how I would have reacted to being imprisoned for sharing the Good News about who Jesus is and what Jesus offers us followers?

An Angel of the Lord Opened the Prison Doors. . . . (Acts 5:19)

There is so much in this one simple phrase, in this beautiful story of the beginnings of our Church. There is so much depth, so much which speaks to us. The whole message is that Jesus loves us and everybody, that Jesus came to saves us all, that Jesus calls us to follow him in love and humility, and that Jesus invites us day to choose life with him. All of us are called to live in the here and now of life, and called to walk the smooth roads, the bumpy roads, and roads in all kinds of condition on our journey with Jesus.
What prisons are we in? Selfishness, anxiety, fear, anger, or hatred? What prisons have we been sealed into or have we crawled into ourselves? How afraid we are of freedom! How frightening is liberty! It is better to be in prison!

Let us open our hearts to the Risen Christ, open up and show Him all of the things we fear, all of the prisons we have built. Let us open our lives to the light of Christ. And we too will discover that an angel will enter in and free us to be the wonderful and ordinary people that God has made us.

God loves us in our ordinary selves. We needn’t put on our Sunday best, or pretend that we are descended from a long line of nobility. It doesn’t matter. God loved a fisherman so much that He made that fisherman the first leader of the Church. And He loved that fisherman in his ordinariness, in his plain gifts, and his rough self.

God is the jeweler. God is the only one who can make our rough cuts smooth, and our sullied surfaces shine. God is the only one who can open us up and remove the cancers that we cultivate like a garden: hatred, fear, anxiety, doubt, thoughtlessness, selfishness.

Think how wonderful it would be, to be completely liberated from all of this! Think how blessed we would be if we could follow that angel out of our prisons and into eternal life! Think how we, once free, could become that liberating angel for others!


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