The Catholic Defender: Mercy And The Prisoner
Matthew 25:31-45 tells us the story when Jesus, “the Son of Man, comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him.”
Something about Jesus throne that first interests me. This is a Chair of judgement, a Chair of authority, a Chair of Mercy to those saved by His grace.
To those who opened the door when Jesus knocked, to those who heard Jesus call, Jesus came into their being through the Eucharistic table of Plenty (Revelation 3:20).
To those who overcame sin and lived the life of grace, Jesus gives the right to join Him on His throne.
We become partakers of the victory of Jesus who will come to judge the living and the dead.
We will sing the victory song of Psalms 118:5, “The joyful shout of deliverance is heard in the tents of the victors: The Lord’s right hand strikes with power; the Lord’s right hand is raised; the Lord’s right hand strikes with power.”
Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” Jesus is clear what he is referring to, what we are called to do.
The corporal works of mercy is as follows:
To feed the hungry;
To give drink to the thirsty;
To clothe the naked;
To harbor the harbourless;
To visit the sick; To ransom the captive;
To bury the dead.
The spiritual works of mercy are:
To instruct the ignorant; To counsel the doubtful; To admonish sinners; To bear wrongs patiently; To forgive offences willingly; To comfort the afflicted; To pray for the living and the dead.
Today, I want to take a look at what Jesus said about visiting the prisoner, “in prison and you visited me.” This call from the Lord encompasses a little of all the corporal works of mercy and the spiritual works of mercy all in one. It is here in the prisoner that the Lord can set from from a past of hate to a future of faithfulness, it is here that spiritual need can be filled through the instruction of the Catechist.
The following is a recent letter from one such prisoner that Deepertruth Member, Fred Williams shared with me:
"Fred, I am praying this letter finds you well. I am glad that you found out how to work the e-mail site. Always remember through Christ we can do all things. Fred, me and my sisters in Christ welcome you all and can’t wait to see you all on Thursday. The one thing we do know is that you all do have lots of spiritual love for us and that alone we are grateful for.
I want to thank you for your prayers. This Catholic Religion is all new to me and I want to learn all I can out of it. There are things I still don’t understand.
I love the Lord with all my heart Fred. I struggle with some things with my family and myself but I keep on praying and believing and trusting in God.
I know by my prayer requests you do realize what’s going on with me and my family.
Fred, my sister and I are not speaking at this point. My heart is broken, but I know God is a heart fixer so I have taken the situation to Him.
I still write and tell her how much I love her, but she is very stubborn. I am asking that you pray for her and me to have a sister relationship.
I would love to have here in my life right now. Fred, I feel so lonely even though I have Machelle, she is my best friend, but I am gonna keep on trusting.
My Sister's name is Sharen. I did get good news my oldest Son has got a job and doing good for himself. I am excited about attending the RCIA class, I want to know the importance of the Saints. Mu church never talked about the Saints alot.
I am excited about ll of this. The Lord is ordering my steps.
I am glad that you write! I don’t get mail often, Fred I want you to have a blessed day. Sincerely yours,
God bless you in all you do." (Editors note: Names in this letter have been changed to keep individuals identity from being know at request of the sender)
What a wonderful letter of hope from a Prisoner who is not left forgotten, but is very much spiritually alive because of people who care to serve the Lord in serving others.
Hebrews 13:3 states, “Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them; and those who are ill-treated, since you also are in the body.” Let us also remember that Jesus came to set the captives free, that we all have sinned and need His Mercy.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed…” Luke 4:18
The Apostle Peter in Prison:
And when he had seized him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people. So Peter was kept in prison; but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church. The very night when Herod was about to bring him out, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison; and behold, an angel of the Lord appeared, and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his hands. And the angel said to him, “Dress yourself and put on your sandals.” And he did so. And he said to him, “Wrap your mantle around you and follow me.” And he went out and followed him; he did not know that what was done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. When they had passed the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate leading into the city. It opened to them of its own accord, and they went out and passed on through one street; and immediately the angel left him. And Peter came to himself, and said, “Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.”