Daily Reflection
May 11th, 1999
John Horn, S.J.
Institute for Priestly Formation
Acts 16:22-34
John 16:5-11
ďAt that late hour of the night he took them in and bathed their wounds;
then he and his whole family were baptized.Ē
Acts of the Apostles 16:22-34

After witnessing some extraordinary events, the jailer who had been guarding the imprisoned disciples is moved to convert.  He and his whole family become disciples!  The interior movements in the jailerís heart should be noticed, especially the sorrow which takes him to bathe the wounds of those he had previously held captive.  This is how further conversion to Jesusí Spirit can work in us!

The jailer is living a simple and ordinary life, doing what needs to be done to pay the bills for his family.  Itís basically a dull life.  I suspect he is living in a numb state of affairs, in a status quo manner, half-dead and half-alive.

In the middle of a natural disaster, an earthquake, the jailer witnesses some amazing good occurring for people who already knew Jesusí loving presence even while enduring the personal disaster of unfair imprisonment.  After an initial riveting fear, the jailerís misdirected sorrow then becomes directed towards life as he permits himself to hear and respond to a plea.  He responds by asking the disciples how to receive life through Jesus.

The direction of the interior sorrow is vital.  Conversion means ďan inner turning.Ē  The jailerís sorrow can be converted into a deepening of what has made him half-dead already, moving him towards despair and suicide.  Or, the jailerís sorrow can breed new life by relating it with Jesusí Spirit.  Thank God he responded to the disciples' plea!

Sorrow, when related with Jesusí Spirit, brings relief and new life for all of us.  The paradox here is that the jailer and his family are set free from being imprisoned in a dull, half-dead way of living.  And, this can be the case for any of us.  We need to be more deeply converted, set free from a numb, status quo manner of living.  May all of our sorrows be admitted readily and be placed in relationship with Jesus who gives life, taking us to bathe and repair wounds that we had helped cause. 

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