When person thanks of a jail cell, how much of a stretch of the imagination is it to view that cell as a tomb? Cells restrict movement, keep one separated, isolated, and their closed gate is certainly not good news for one incarcerated. Especially during this Easter season, how difficult is it to see a prison cell as a tomb? In that first reading then, when the Sadducees toss those Apostles into that cell, can one see them being tossed into a tomb, the gate closed so similar to a rock being rolled in front of a grave?
But during the night, the angel of the Lord opened the doors of the prison,
led them out, and said,
“Go and take your place in the temple area….
When the angel then opens that gate then, they are set free from their graves. The angel is the messenger of God, or as some put it they are that message of God. Think back to that Angel of the tomb telling Mary “Jesus is not here.” As Jesus was not in a tomb, those Apostles were no longer to be confined to one either. They were set free, liberated from the death preached by the Sadducees. Their being freed from the cell by that angel then is their resurrection from death to life. They leave that cell, a symbol of the tomb, and go to preach at the temple. The temple is the symbol of union between heaven and earth. That story gives reason for Christ’s resurrection, it is so that others might be brought back to life, that we to might escape that grip of death. It also gives us a share in the Apostles mission of spreading the gospel message as they did, to aid others in their journey towards life.