Saturday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
October 31, 2020
Readings: Letter of Saint Paul to the Philippians 1:18b-26; Psalm 42; Luke 14:1, 7-11
As many of us know, Saint Paul’s letter to the Philippians was written while in prison. Rather than feeling helpless as most of us in this situation would, I sense Paul was empowered by his relationship with Jesus Christ. In fact, in his letters Paul speaks, “with all boldness.” Although he mentioned his longing to depart this life to be with Christ, he knew that remaining on earth was a necessity by which he could continue to be of service to others.
In terms of our own lives, most of us are required to cope with difficult circumstances from time to time. We may be imprisoned by depression, despair, anxiety, hate, or other problems that act as shackles in our lives. You must take my word, having personally spent time in prison, that I can relate to the difficulties and feelings of hopelessness and unhappiness that come with being incarcerated. You see, I was in the prison ministry during my first parish assignment for fourteen years, and I saw living conditions which did not improve an individual’s already poor outlook on life.
Although for those imprisoned regardless of their circumstances, they may want
to give up. Instead they should emulate Saint Paul, accept God’s love and empowerment, and use them to work through the hardships. God grants us many gifts and these include: the ability to step back, tap into our faith, confidently use prayer, problem solve, forgive, and use other God-given skills to free ourselves from the shackles of despair and hopelessness. By doing these, we can greatly grow through and with Jesus. We can rejoice, like Paul, knowing that none of this is possible without God’s love. In recognizing that, we not only become empowered to live God’s message, but we can spread the Word through our newly found empathy and serve those most in need.
Question of the Day: Will you consider joining an organization (Catholic Prison Pen Pals or the Order of Malta Pen Pals Program) to reach out to those who are incarcerated, in order to help bring them the love of Christ into their lives?
Prayer: Father of Mercy, the secrets of all hearts are known to you alone. You know who is just and you forgive the unjust. You alone are the Almighty Judge. We are not worthy of judging anyone. Your mercy is enough for sinners. Hear our prayers for those in prison. Give them repentance and let them believe in you. Give them patience and hope in their sufferings, and bring them home again soon. Comfort their near and dear ones. Let them trust in Jesus Christ and live with hope. Amen. (Prayer for Prisoners, June 15, 2009)