The Word of God

Reflection – Lectionary: 643

“I, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received.” How can we say that someone who is a prisoner is actually in a good place? This would have to be determined by a number of factors, such as the prison itself, the prisoner, and of course, the jailer. On this beautiful Tuesday, we have encountered such a mission of understanding and belief that will hopefully expand our notions of faith and to the awesome extent that Jesus loves us. “…with all humility and gentleness, with patience.” The word “prison” has been defined in some circles as a state of confinement while awaiting trial. In many ways, we could stretch that meaning just a bit and see how life itself can be a sort of prison because we are confined in space and time, awaiting the final judgment of all that we have said and done while here on this earth. Thus, while we are “confined,” we have been given instructions while we are here. We are to be humble and gentle, and as much can be grasped, patient with as many as possible. “…bearing with one another through love.” If we see everyone in our lives as fellow prisoners, then we could find the strength and the power to love because we are all awaiting the same trial. That in and of itself will bring us to unity and peace: “…striving to preserve the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”

“Go and learn the meaning of the words, I desire mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” On this great Feast of St. Matthew, this particular phrase from the Gospel describes and determines the attitude of the “jailer” in our little analogy of this Reflection. God has placed us here on earth “in confinement,” and Jesus will come one day to lead us out of this existence to another, which is complete and eternal freedom. In the meantime, then, we are to concentrate on living, acting with, and living in mercy. Showing mercy to each other is indeed a pledge and promise that mercy will be shown to us. 

“Teach me to feel another’s woe, To hide the fault I see; That mercy I to others show, That mercy show to me.” Alexander Pope (from The Universal Prayer)

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