Dear Fathers, Friends in Christ,
Although the readings today clearly point out the danger and persecution in the early Church, they also proclaim our connections with the power of God. In the first reading we see St. Peter walk free by the intervention of an angel while imprisoned and in chains sleeping between two guards.
We need to note however in the reading that incessant prayer was made by the Church unto God for him. We must never, never, underestimate the power of prayer. In 2 Timothy (4:17), St. Paul notes that though he realizes his death is at hand he knows that the Lord stood by him and strengthened him.
Many of us have heard the quote in the gospel of St. Matthew when Jesus asks His disciples "But who do you say that I am?" When St. Peter states that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, Jesus announces that Peter could only have known this through God the Father. Jesus then proceeds to announce that upon the Rock of Peter and his faith, Christ will build the Church. Jesus then gives Peter the keys of the kingdom of heaven.
Often we may experience a sense of alienation or aloneness in our day-to-day walk as Christians. The rich readings of today serve as solid evidence that the opposite is true. We are already in Christ as baptized Christians!
Father Ed Bakker
Anglican Catholic Church / Original Province
Mission of Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne