Daily Reflection
April 14th, 1999
Kathy Kanavy
Institute for Priestly Formation
Acts 5:17-26
John 3:16-21

How active is your imagination today?  I’d like to invite you to place yourself in the scene of today’s story found in the Acts of the Apostles.  As much as you can, let your imagination see the scene, notice the characters, smell the smells etc. and let yourself be part of the living Word for us today.

We begin with the arrest of the apostles by the high priest of the Sadducees party. Because so many people were believing in Jesus Christ and following His apostles, these disciples were thrown into the public jail.  “During the night, however, an angel of the Lord opened the gates of the jail, led them forth, and said,  ‘Go out now and take your place in the temple precincts and preach to the people all about this new life.’”

In your imagination, what is the night like for the apostles as they are locked in jail?  What are the sights, sounds, the feelings and thoughts of these men?  What is it like for these disciples of Jesus to be freed by an angel?  Are they astounded, elated, confused, awed?  And what is their response to being asked to preach about this new life?

As you imagine these events, notice especially three important dynamics:

1)  the night in prison
2)  being freed by an angel
3)  being sent to preach this new life
Here we encounter Jesus, the Lord of Life.  The “love story” of God with us is seen in a simple way in this account:  in our human struggles (our prisons), God seeks after us in utter love eager to free us.  He asks that we, in turn, love and care for others as He has done for us.  The wonder of this truth is that once you or I or the apostles have been freed from a prison where we were held in helplessness, gratitude fills our hearts and so does the desire to be generous to others.

The invitation of Jesus today is to let Him free you and me again and again.  Jesus, through the glory of the Father, has already saved us and our world.  Often we mistakenly hold onto an attitude that thinks we are the ones who need to fix the situation or to get ourselves or those we love out of prison.  The truth is that Jesus longs for us to come to Him with our pain so that He might come into our prisons to console us and to free us there.

Jesus asks us to let Him give us His risen life by placing our helplessness before Him.  Let what has been stirred in your imagination with the apostles be part of prayer for you today.  Whether today you feel most prominently the darkness of the prison, the gratitude of being freed, or generosity towards others, let Jesus’ risen life be poured abundantly into your heart.

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