Imprisonment…the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time…don’t be imprisoned!

 

St. Paul uses a very interesting word in the second reading that we hear this weekend:  imprisonment.  When we hear the word imprisonment, we usually think of those who are incarcerated in jails or prisons.  Of course, visiting those who are in prison is one of the corporal works of ministry.  Several years ago, I had occasion to visit a former parishioner who was incarcerated.  I did so not only out of a sense of obligation and charity but I can honestly share you that I left with a sense of fear and fright.  The person I was visiting certainly deserved to be incarcerated as he had committed a criminal offense that I will not share here but suffice it to say, the punishment fit the crime.  But there is another type of imprisonment and it is the one that St Paul is speaking about in the Letter that he wrote to Philemon: the imprisonment to sin. When we allow sin to permeate and to take hold of us we become prisoners of sin. Our Lord Jesus Christ, by one supreme act of love by His Passion, Death and Resurrection liberated us from sin once and for all and has called us to live as free children.  But you see, we are not just any type of children: we are children of God.  Children of God live differently; we live without the constant worry of being weighed down by that immense burden.  We live redeemed!  There is no reason that anyone reading these words right now needs to live in a prison of sin. The sacrament of reconciliation liberates us; it frees us from the burden of sin, allowing us to once again live in freedom; the freedom that the love God has for us. I know that I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating again, the sacraments reconciliation is not just something for Advent or for Lent;  it is something for us to embrace now.  My friends, don’t live as a prisoner, be liberated from the burden that sin creates in your life. Ask the Lord Jesus Christ to free you from sin so that you may truly be free from all burden and live as a liberated child of God. Perhaps the reconciliation room at St. Mary’s might be for you a place of freedom; a place of liberation.

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