Go, stand in the temple and tell the people the whole message about this life. (Acts 5: 20)
I wonder how tempting it may have been for the apostles to simply ignore the orders of the angel who freed them. Did they consider, even for a moment, not going back to the temple to preach, choosing instead to run away? Maybe the idea of remaining in their cells and refusing freedom outright occurred to them.
Just like the original apostles, we have been charged with the greatest privilege of all: announcing, as Luke puts it, “the whole message about this life.” To do so, we are often challenged to go to unfamiliar places, at inconvenient times, in difficult circumstances, to proclaim to unknown people the Kerygma, so powerfully summarized in today’s Gospel. As beautiful and fulfilling as the mission of bringing “the message about this life” to others may be, am I ever inclined instead to seek to escape? Do I ever allow myself to remain imprisoned by negative experiences, thoughts or feelings? Do fear or even laziness ever cause me to prefer the comfort of the cell that I know over the risks of going back out to the temple I don’t?
Knowing what the consequences might be, the apostles chose to continue to preach the Good News. We are called to follow their example. We are called to a spiritual freedom that allows us to be witnesses and preachers of God’s grace and forgiveness offered through the shedding of Jesus’ Blood.
Rev. Patrick Gilmurray, C.PP.S.