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He’s in the Jailhouse Now (not)


I love the fact that the fathers of the Church load the daily Mass readings after Easter with the events at the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles. Have you noticed how many of the stories are like symbolic little ‘resurrections’? When the apostles heal the lame man in the Beautiful Gate the whole story is crammed with resurrection symbols. The open tomb is the ‘Beautiful Gate’ from which life bursts. Jesus himself is ‘the Beautiful Gate’ into heaven. Then it says the lame man was ‘raised up.’

In today’s gospel Peter is delivered from prison by an angel. Here’s another mini-resurrection story. There’s the angel, and the sleeping guard. The prison is the prison of sin. As the Lord burst from the prison of death and the grave, so Peter (who is one with Him in baptism) is delivered from prison and raised up to new life.

These stories are not just symbolic because some clever fellow thought it all up and decided to put these elements in the story. The recording of the stories are inspired by God. He’s weaving it all together, and the multi leveled story reminds us that the whole of life has this same secret message if we only have eyes to see. If we can see with resurrection eyes then we’d see that God is working all the time to bring mini resurrections into our lives.

Every time we turn from sin to virtue by God’s grace it is a little resurrection. Every time we turn from selfishness to an act of sacifice it is a little death and resurrection. Every time we get to confession, go to Mass, say a prayer, reach out in love and turn from the darkess of despair, depression and doubt it is a little resurrection, and all of them build up into a sharing in one mighty resurrection and finally a share in eternal life.

Don’t believe in the resurrection? You are truly poor…

..For the world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out like shining from shook foil….

…for the Holy Ghost over the bent world broods
with warm breast, and with Ah! bright wings.

About Fr. Dwight Longenecker
  • Anonymous

    Fr. Dwight,Thanks for the memory jog. I’d almost forgotten the mini-resurrection motif that runs through the first part of “Acts of the Apostles”. Peace,

  • motherann

    Fr. Dwight, thanks also for the poem quote (g m hopkins, I think) which I haven’t seen since high school. I like it even more now. I’m thankful that there is always more to see and more richness to savor in the gospels’ witness.Alleluia!


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