ESCAPED, ARMED, AND DANGEROUS

Wednesday of the Second Week of EasterLectionary: 269

Reading 1 ACTS 5:17-26
The high priest rose up and all his companions,

that is, the party of the Sadducees,

and, filled with jealousy,

laid hands upon the Apostles and put them in the public jail.

But during the night, the angel of the Lord opened the doors of the prison,

led them out, and said,

“Go and take your place in the temple area,

and tell the people everything about this life.”

When they heard this,

they went to the temple early in the morning and taught.

When the high priest and his companions arrived,

they convened the Sanhedrin,

the full senate of the children of Israel,

and sent to the jail to have them brought in.

But the court officers who went did not find them in the prison,

so they came back and reported,

“We found the jail securely locked

and the guards stationed outside the doors,

but when we opened them, we found no one inside.”

When the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests heard this report, 

they were at a loss about them,

as to what this would come to.

Then someone came in and reported to them,

“The men whom you put in prison are in the temple area

and are teaching the people.” 

Then the captain and the court officers went and brought them,

but without force,

because they were afraid of being stoned by the people.

Responsorial Psalm PS 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9
R. (7a) The Lord hears the cry of the poor.

or:

R. Alleluia.

I will bless the LORD at all times;

his praise shall be ever in my mouth.

Let my soul glory in the LORD;

the lowly will hear me and be glad.

R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.

or:

R. Alleluia.

Glorify the LORD with me,

let us together extol his name.

I sought the LORD, and he answered me

and delivered me from all my fears.

R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.

or:

R. Alleluia.

Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,

and your faces may not blush with shame.

When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,

and from all his distress he saved him.

R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.

or:

R. Alleluia.

The angel of the LORD encamps

around those who fear him, and delivers them.

Taste and see how good the LORD is;

blessed the man who takes refuge in him.

R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.

or:

R. Alleluia.

Alleluia JN 3:16
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son,

so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel JN 3:16-21
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 might be saved through him.

Whoever believes in him will not be condemned,

but whoever does not believe has already been condemned,

because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God.

And this is the verdict,

that the light came into the world,

but people preferred darkness to light,

because their works were evil.

For everyone who does wicked things hates the light

and does not come toward the light,

so that his works might not be exposed.

But whoever lives the truth comes to the light,

so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.
REFLECTION: ESCAPED, ARMED, AND DANGEROUS

“We found the jail securely locked and the guards at their posts outside the gates, but when we opened it we found no one inside.” –Acts 5:23
The Sanhedrin thought the apostles were locked in jail, but actually they were in the Temple preaching “to the people all about this new life” in Jesus (Acts 5:20). The public school system thinks it has its teachers’ faith and prayers locked up in a jail of laws forbidding evangelization and prayer in public schools. However, some public school teachers, and even principals, are obeying God rather than men (Acts 5:29). “With full assurance, and without any hindrance whatever,” they are preaching “the reign of God” and teaching “about the Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 28:31).
Business and the mass media think they have a lock on our culture with their religion of secular humanism. They intolerantly and militantly ostracize anyone who doesn’t follow the party-line. Nevertheless, Christians are letting their light shine (Mt 5:14-16), even in the darkest corners of the “culture of death.”
The world thinks Christians are in prison. While many of us are imprisoned and most of us look imprisoned, some Christians have let the Lord secretly free them. As Jesus rose from the dead and emerged from the tomb, some Christians are no longer shut up “in the grip of the enemy” but are moving “about at large” (Ps 31:9). Watch out, world! Some Christians have been secretly sprung from jail. The Lord has set them “free in the open” (2 Sm 22:20). They will turn this world right side up (see Acts 17:6), as they witness for the risen Christ. They will light a fire on this earth (Lk 12:49). Watch out! Some Christians have escaped. They are armed and extremely dangerous.
PRAYER: Father, make me a much greater threat to the devil.

PROMISE: “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him may not die but may have eternal life.” –Jn 3:16

PRAISE: John has been freeing spiritual prisoners for 30 years.

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