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Wednesday, April 6, 2005

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Acts 5:17-26
Psalm 34
John 3:16-21

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free for all

"Preach to the people all about this new life." —Acts 5:20

As this is written, the people of Iraq have recently been liberated from decades of repression under the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein. Iraq is now a free country. After their initial joy, many of the Iraqi people are now struggling with their freedom. All they know is repression. They aren't sure how to live in freedom, and many of them are unsure about what comes next.

Jesus is risen, and we are free! Yet it's not unusual for the spiritual elation of Easter to be followed by confusion and disappointment. Like the Iraqis, Christians need to learn to live in the freedom of risen life. Risen life is not intuitive; it is a completely new existence (Jn 3:4-5). Risen life is as radically different from life before Christ as the light of day is to a baby just delivered from a mother's womb (see Jn 3:3). Therefore, we can never assume that people will just "get it" once they've received Jesus. People need help in learning to live free and risen. That's why the angel commanded the unchained apostles to teach the people about risen life (Acts 5:20).

We learn to live the risen life by immersing ourselves and other Christians in "the apostles' instruction," that is, the Scriptures and other teachings of the Church (see Acts 2:42). The new converts of the church of Antioch were taught for an entire year after their conversion (Acts 11:26). Those newly baptized at Easter and even those who have followed Jesus for years will still need more teaching and study to learn to live, grow, and persevere in the freedom of risen life. Read God's Word and abide in it (Jn 8:31). "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (Jn 8:32).

Prayer:  Jesus, may I lead many people to risen life in You.

Promise:  "God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him." —Jn 3:17

Praise:  Jesus set Ron free of sexual impurity when Ron decided to commit to weekly Eucharistic adoration.

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 12, 2004

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