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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

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St. Francis of Paola

Acts 5:17-26
Psalm 34
John 3:16-21

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over these prison walls we shall fly!

"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

Listen to the guards talking outside the prison walls...

"Look at him! That bum's been an alcoholic for twenty years! What's he doing holding down a steady job? Look, he's witnessing to his co-workers about how Jesus delivered him from the bottle. He can't do that. Let's talk some sense into him..."

"What's happened to her? She's been shy and meek all her life. What's she doing praying in front of the abortion clinic? She can't do that. It's making people angry. We've got to stop her..."

"Look at Father! He's been a quiet priest all these years. Why is he suddenly trying to renew our parish? He must have a hidden agenda. We'd better talk to the bishop..."

The world thinks it has overcome Christians by putting them in jails called "acceptable behavior." How surprised they are when Jesus snaps the chains that bind us and sets us free in the open! (Ps 18:20) When we receive the Holy Spirit, we act in truth and come into the light to glorify God by our deeds (Jn 3:21). Since the world hates the light (Jn 3:20), they will want to throw us back into our old prisons (Acts 5:26). But Jesus has set us free, and we are free indeed! (Jn 8:36)

"So stand firm, and do not take on yourselves the yoke of slavery a second time!" (Gal 5:1) "Go out now and take your place" (Acts 5:20).

Prayer:  Father, You so loved the world that You sent Your only Son to save us (Jn 3:16). I am all Yours. Use me as You will.

Promise:  "God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him." —Jn 3:17

Praise:  St. Francis broke through the culturally-imposed jail of a typical teenager and gave his life to Jesus at the age of 13.

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 23, 2007

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