In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul writes how he is a prisoner of the Lord. Paul indeed was imprisoned in Rome at the time that he wrote this letter. Even though he was behind bars, he was able to exhort the Ephesians to be patient, gentle, and humble. I used to tell the prisoners that I used to visit and minister to in the state penitentiaries that there were far worst prisons that can confine them in their lives than the bars that they were behind. We can be imprisoned by the addictions we have, and those addictions can take many different forms, can’t they? In fact, many of the prisoners I visited admitted to me that they still were addicted to the drugs that they got their hands on even behind those bars. We can be imprisoned by false expectations and sense of values, imprisoned by clinging the to values of the world and our worldly appetites that never seem to be satisfied. Paul calls us to the one Body, the one Spirit, the one faith.
An ancient Persian poet once said: “Why do you stay in prison when the door is so wide open?” We can imprison ourselves in so many ways. But the Lord opens the door for us. And we open the door in the way we remain faithful on our journey.
Last week, at our deanery meeting, Danna Johnson from St Christopher’s parish in Pontotoc prayed the prayer of St Ignatius of Loyola with us. I think it is very appropriate to the themes of our readings today: Take Lord receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding and my entire will. You have given al to me. To you, Lord, I return it. Everything is yours. Do with it what you will. Give me only your love and your grace. That is enough for me. Your love and your grace – this is enough for me.