Putting Jesus’ Command Into Practice

Yesterday’s first Mass reading from Acts records what the priest who said Mass at St. Benedict’s Monastery yesterday afternoon called the first incident of the disciples putting into practice Jesus’ command to “love one another as I have loved you.”

Paul and Silas are beaten and imprisoned. As they pray to God, an earthquake shook the foundations of the jail, such that “all the doors flew open, and the chains of all were pulled loose.”

As the prest suggested in his homily, what happens next is not what you might expect. One would expect someone who had been unjustly beaten and imprisoned and who had been praying for release would have hightailed it out of there as soon as the door flew open. That is not what Paul did, however,

Paul’s concern was for the jailer, who upon waking and seeing the doors opened was about to kill himself, knowing he would be blamed for the escape of the prisoners. He begged the jailer not to harm himself, assuring him that the prisoners were still here. At that, the jailer “asked for a light and rushed in and, trembling with fear, he fell down before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’”

Paul gave up his own self-interest and stayed for the sake of the jailer. And, because Paul lived Jesus’ instruction to love as Jesus had loved, he then had the opportunity to further evangelize – through the efforts of Paul and Silas the jailer and his family were baptized. If we live Christ’s love, the priest reminded us, we will make disciple for Christ.