Day 333: Peter Is Rescued from Prison

Acts 12:1-19 A new wave of persecution arose, but this time the authorities did not spare the Apostles. James the Greater, brother of John, was the first of the Apostles to be martyred, and Peter was imprisoned. He narrowly escaped the same fate due to the prayers of the faithful to God who sent an angel. (CCC 334, 946-948, 2636)

Ch 12:2 With the sword: Probably a beheading, which at the time was one form of capital punishment used in Rome. (CCC 2267)

Ch12:3 Days of Unleavened Bread: A Jewish feast that begins at Passover and continues for a week. Jews would eat only unleavened bread for those seven days as a reminder that just as yeast of leaven permeates the entire dough, sin can grow and corrupt everyone and everything it touches. (CCC 1334)

Ch 12:5 The first Christians recognized prayer as a powerful means to reach holiness and a source of strength in the face of persecution. Their prayers were answered in the miraculous delivery of Peter. (CCC 2636)

Ch 12:12 The house of Mary: In the early Church, Christians celebrated the Eucharist on Sundays and met for prayer in private homes. In the present case, it was in the home of Mary, mother of John Mark. (CCC 1342)

Ch 12:15 It is his angel: This statement may reflect the Christian belief in guardian angels, who are spirits assigned by God to guide and protect a particular person throughout his or her life. (CCC 336)

Ch 12:20-23 Herod Agrippa I sinned by not protesting when the crowd proclaimed him a deity. The historian Josephus confirmed that the king died a few days after the ceremonies in question AD 44. This Herod is the grandson of Herod the Great, who reigned at the time of the Birth of Christ and was related also to Herod Antipas, who interrogated Christ before he was sentenced to death. (CCC 423)

Ch 12:24-25 John Mark, who became one of Paul’s missionary companions, is the Mark who is credited as the author of the second Gospel. (CCC 120)

1 Corinthians 5:1-8 Paul, in beginning a series of instructions on conscience and the moral law, called for the excommunication of a man living in an incestuous relationship. The penalty of excommunication seeks the repentance of the sinner and the salvation of the individual’s soul. Incest-sexual relations between family members or in-laws within a degree that prohibits marriage between them-violated both the Law of Moses (cf. Dt 22:30) and Roman law. It is a grave sin that destroys the proper family relationship intended by God. 

You are arrogant: The Christians did not exclude the perpetrator from their community. For this reason, Paul scolded them for their excessive tolerance.

I have already pronounced judgment: Paul ordered the excommunication in absentia.

Deliver this man to Satan: In being discharged from the Church, the man was cut off from both the Sacraments, the source of grace, and the community. The hope was to bring the individual to repentance. (CCC 1463, 2388-2389)

Ch 5:6-8 The teachings of the Apostles and the early Church constantly placed Christ as the fulfillment of the prophecies in the Old Testament. Here, Paul alluded to Passover traditions that found their ultimate meaning in the Redemption of Christ and his Eucharistic Sacrifice. At Passover, which celebrated the liberation of Israel from enslavement by Egypt, the Jewish people offered and feasted on a lamb and on unleavened bread as God had directed them at the first Passover.

Paschal lamb: Paul used this title for Christ because he, like the Passover lamb, was sacrificed and shed blood for our redemption. Just as the Jews consumed the lamb at Passover, the faithful consume the body of Christ in the Eucharist. Just as the Jews removed yeast from their houses for the Feast of Azymes, or Unleavened Bread, Christians are to remove all sin from their midst. For this reason, in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, unleavened bread is used for the Eucharistic sacrifice. (CCC 129, 608, 610, 613, 1971)

Ch 5:7-8 Leaven permeates flour, makes bread rise, and enhances its flavor. A sinful heart likewise permeates the human person. Removing the leaven of sin is necessary in order to renew the heart and effect conversion. (CCC 928-930, 940)

Ch 5:9-13 This passage apparently is meant to clear up a misconception from an earlier letter from Paul in which he advised the Corinthians “not to associate with immoral men.” He clarified that he meant for them not to tolerate immorality among fellow Christians and to remove them from the community. Non Believers were not expected to be saints, and it was impossible not to be involved with them in a diverse society such as Corinth. Christians also had an obligation to reach out to nonbelievers in hopes of converting them to the Faith. However, when a baptized Christian persisted in a scandalous sin that presented a danger to the souls of believers, Paul instructed the local Church to excommunicate the individual. (CCC 1470, 1971)

Ch 6:1-11 The Jews in the time of Christ had their own court system to handle disputes among themselves without resorting to the Roman authorities. Christ himself was tried by the Jewish authorities as well as by the Roman authorities. Paul cautioned the Christians at Corinth from taking their disagreements to a civil court; believers should be able to resolve their disputes amicably among themselves (cf. Mt 18:15-17). Exposing their disagreements to nonbelievers reflected poorly on the Christian faithful. It would be better to suffer an injustice silently than to make a spectacle of the Christian community. (CCC 823-826)

Ch 6:3 We are to judge angels: In Heaven, the just will reign with Christ and, thus, will share in his judgment upon humanity and even upon those angelic beings who have fallen from grace and try to undermine Christ’s redemptive work.

Ch 6:9-10 Paul listed those vices that exclude from salvation so as to remind the Corinthians not to fall back to their former, pagan ways. 

Adulterers: Committing sexual acts with someone other than one’s spouse is always a grave offense against God. 

Homosexuals: The Greek malakoi and arsenokoitai might be translated as “male prostitutes” and “homosexuals.” The prohibition is for homosexual acts rather than simply same-sex attraction. The Church makes a similar distinction. Homosexual inclinations or tendencies are intrinsically disordered but not sinful in themselves; homosexual acts, however, are gravely disordered and constitute mortal sin. The Church offers compassion for those who struggle with same-sex attraction and encouragement in their efforts to live chaste lives. (CCC 1852, 2357-2359, 2380-2381, 2450)

Ch 6:11 In Baptism a person has his or her sins forgiven and receives sanctification by the Holy Spirit by means of sanctifying grace. The baptized “put on Christ,” meaning that we enter into communion with him in such a way that we are grafted onto the life of Christ (cf. Gal 3:27).

Spirit of our God: This is another name for the Holy Spirit, one of several that Paul uses in his letters. (CCC 693, 1227, 1452, 1695, 2813)

Ch 6:12-20 Some in the Corinthian community may have misunderstood Paul’s teaching on justification and the Law. Believing they were free from the yoke of the Law, they transgressed the Commandments by engaging in immoral sexual conduct. Once we are baptized, however, our bodies are no longer our own, but we become members of the Mystical Body of Christ. Through the grace of the Sacrament of Baptism, we become temples of the Holy Spirit. (CCC 1004, 1421, 1691, 1694-1695, 1992)

Ch 6:12 All things are lawful for me: An alternate explanation for this attitude among some Corinthians was the influence of the Greek philosophy of mind-body dualism, which considered the mind or person as distinct from his or her physical body. A somewhat extreme perspective would suggest that sexual immorality, gluttony, and drunkenness were lawful because they involve the physical body and not the mind. This is in opposition to the teaching of Christ and his Church, which views the human person as an intimate union of body and soul. (CCC 365, 382, 1700-1709, 1742)

Ch 6:13 Paul compared the relationship of Christ and our bodies to a marriage covenant. Just as in marriage the bodies of husband and wife belong to one another, our bodies belong to Christ, making sexual impurity a form of infidelity to him. The Church herself is called the Bride of Christ, the “spotless bride of the spotless lamb.” (CCC 796, 989, 1004)

Ch 6:15 Cult prostitution was common in pagan worship at that time. Besides being a grave violation of the sacredness of human sexuality, prostitution offends human dignity by turning a person into a mere object for sexual pleasure and exploitation. (CCC 2355)

Ch 6:16-18 In marriage, the sexual act serves as the language of the body expressing the one flesh union between a husband and a wife. The Church is called the Bride of Christ, and our union with him is strengthened when we receive Holy Communion. (CCC 364, 1643, 1695, 2355)

Ch 6:19-20 Your body is a temple: Through Baptism, the Holy Spirit dwells within us. Our soul, which is spiritual, gives life to the body, forming a unity, which is the human person. Although separated by death, body and soul are reunited at the resurrection of the dead. 

Bought with a price: Through his Death and Resurrection, Christ purchased our redemption and salvation. (CCC 1004, 1197, 1269, 1709)

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)

Peter in Rome 


(*Walking With God: A Journey Through The Bible by Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins)

Key Event 67c: Peter's Arrest and Deliverance (Acts 12)

Herod Agrippa I kills James, son of Zebedee and brother of John, and proceeds to arrest Peter.  Miraculously, an angel of the Lord rescues Peter from prison.  Shortly thereafter, Herod dies unexpectedly after accepting divine praises for himself (see Acts 12:20-23).

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise. We thank you so much. Thank you, Lord, for calling us. Thank you for not only for calling us to yourself, thank you for calling us to repentance. Thank you for calling us away from our sins and back to you, back to your heart, back to your love, back to your will. Lord God, we so easily, SO EASILY, we walk, we go astray. So easily we can run from you. And not only that, we can even justify our running from you. Help us to never ever run from you. Help us to never give into our base desires, to never give into our inclination or temptation to sin, but help us in every way to say yes to you, to say yes to your will, to say yes to your call to us to repent, to turn away from what kills us and towards to you who gives us life. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”