Acts 16:22-34

22 The crowd joined in attacking them; and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods.23 And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, charging the jailer to keep them safely.24 Having received this charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. 25 But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, 26 and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and every one’s fetters were unfastened.27 When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped.28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.”29 And he called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas,30 and brought them out and said, “Men, what must I do to be saved?”31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 

32 And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all that were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their wounds, and he was baptized at once, with all his family. 34 Then he brought them up into his house, and set food before them; and he rejoiced with all his household that he had believed in God. 

John 16:5-11

5 But now I am going to him who sent me; yet none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts. 7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will convince the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no more; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.


THE FIRST READING enumerates Paul  and Silas’s incarceration. Instead of indulging in self-pity after receiving a heavy beating they ministered to the jailor. An earthquake erupted that miraculously led to the unlocking of the prison gates and the release of the shackles of the apostles. Filled with fear the jailor makes an attempt to commit suicide rather than being publicly beheaded for failing to prevent the escaped of the apostles. Paul strongly dissuaded the jailer from attempting to end his life, upon which the jailer enquired how his life may be saved in response to the gospel message he received from the Apostles! We can rightly deduce that the jailer was moved by the teachings of the apostles that led to his belief in the gospel thus his desire to “save” himself and his family from eternal damnation through God’s meritorious free gift of grace in baptism!

The jailor and his entire household received an emergency baptism in the middle of the night! It is likely that the sacramental application took the form of pouring water over the candidates heads rather than a full immersion. Pouring and sprinkling were standard formulary OT modes to consecrate, bless and anoint candidates for a higher office or calling or when exorcisms are performed on those who are possessed. Ex 29:21; Lev 8:13; Num 8:7;Ez 36:25.

St JOHN’S GOSPEL account raises a question about our destiny beyond this life. On a few previous occasions the Apostles  wanted to know where Christ was going (Jn 13:36; 14:5), however on this occasion they did not ask the question which indicated their sense of hopelessness about their unknown future without the Lord! Jesus seeks to illuminate our disposition explaining that He needs to make way for the Counselor who will point out the sin in our lives (vv7,8) and counsel us away from self harm and evil!

Undoubtedly, we “did not give our lives to Christ,”however He is the initiator who continuously calls us from our state of sinful enslavement (1Cor 1:9;7:21) so that we may be transformed into righteousness in our walk with Him. Because we have a free will, our destiny will be judged based on the effects of the “ruler” of this world who continuously tempts us to self harm, commit grievous sin when we are faced with disapointment, hurt, tragedy or failure! It is not enough if we have been saved once upon a time, we are called to be blameless, saints, (Rm 1:7) failing which heaven will escape us!


LET US PRAY: Psalms 138:1-3,7-8

I give thee thanks, O LORD, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing thy praise; 2 I bow down toward thy holy temple and give thanks to thy name for thy steadfast love and thy faithfulness; for thou hast exalted above everything thy name and thy word. 3 On the day I called, thou didst answer me, my strength of soul thou didst increase. 7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou dost preserve my life; thou dost stretch out thy hand against the wrath of my enemies, and thy right hand delivers me. 8 The LORD will fulfil his purpose for me; thy steadfast love, O LORD, endures for ever. Do not forsake the work of thy hands.    Henry R SYLVESTER              

Note: The daily scripture readings are taken from the Roman Missal which the Catholic Church use in the daily Celebration of the Holy Eucharist throughout the world.Some weekly readings may differ because of the celebration of local feast days.

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