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Taking Our Place


”The world is but a large prison, out of which some are daily selected for execution.” ~ Sir Walter Raleigh

We witness what can only be described as a divine jailbreak in today’s 1st Reading from the Acts of the Apostles (5:17-26), wherein an Angel of the Lord miraculously shortens the Apostles’ stay at the Graybar Hotel, springing and subsequently instructing them to “Go and take your place in the temple area, and tell the people everything about this life.” They do just that.

Former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik likened going to prison to “dying with your eyes open.” Saints Peter, Paul and the rest of Jesus’ disciples would be no strangers to jail cells in the days to come.They knew however that it was not their final destination, merely a very difficult stopover on the journey home to the Father’s House. We too are summoned to emerge from our prisons and proclaim the Good News. Our prisons are most likely not those of the literal variety, instead taking numerous shapes and forms.
With the litany of distractions we face on a daily basis, it’s easy for instance to become preoccupied and neglect our spiritual mission.

Laziness can set in as well, and on that note I can’t help but think of the words of Saint Zita, whose Feast Day we celebrate today, when she said “A servant is not holy if she is not busy; laziness…is fake holiness.”Our glimpse into Mark’s Gospel on his Feast Day earlier this week revealed Jesus Himself to be a man of action, forever competing well for His Father, tirelessly teaching the truth Admittedly though, there are many “prisons” in our midst. As the old adage goes, “You can’t break out of prison until you realize that it’s you that’s locked up.”

Our place, everyone’s place really, is to proclaim the message in today’s Gospel (John 3:16-21), arguably the most famous passage of them all: “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world would be saved through him.”

Bishop Barron makes a very poignant observation in his morning mediation, pointing out that In so many spiritual traditions, the emphasis is placed on the human quest for God. This however is reversed in Christianity. “Christians,” he points out, “do not believe that God is dumbly ‘out there,’ like a mountain waiting to be climbed by various religious searchers. On the contrary, God, like the hound of heaven in Francis Thompson’s poem, comes relentlessly searching after us.”

God, by way of His Son and the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, wants each of us to experience the freedom that Christ has already won for us. But then we are called to take some action. Jesus has set us free so that we can accomplish his work in the world. Nothing else matters.

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Go…and take your place.

"Help me to journey beyond the familiar and into the unknown. Give me the faith to leave old ways and break fresh ground with You." ~ Prayer of Saint Brendan

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