2nd Week of Easter
1st Reading: Acts 4:32-37
The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common. With great power the Apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all. There was no needy person among them, for those who owned property or houses would sell them, bring the proceeds of the sale, and put them at the feet of the Apostles, and they were distributed to each according to need. Thus Joseph, also named by the Apostles Barnabas (which is translated Ason of encouragement”), a Levite, a Cypriot by birth, sold a piece of property that he owned, then brought the money and put it at the feet of the Apostles.
Gospel: Jn 3:7b-15
Jesus said to Nicodemus: “‘You must be born from above.’ The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Nicodemus answered and said to him, ‘How can this happen?” Jesus answered and said to him, “You are the teacher of Israel and you do not understand this? Amen, amen, I say to you, we speak of what we know and we testify to what we have seen, but you people do not accept our testimony. If I tell you about earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has gone up to heaven except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”
BORN OF SPIRIT: In the Acts of the Apostles, a life of togetherness and faithfulness to Christ is seen. This communality starts in Baptism. As Jesus converses with Nicodemus, He proclaims he need for Baptism: one must be born from above. One has to be born a new, of the Spirit from above in order to live a life of faith in God. Nicodemus represents our community and society. Our hearts are hardened and fail to see the realities of God. We often argue with our own worldly ideas blocking God from penetrating into our hearts. For us to have faith in Christ, we have to allow the Spirit of God to guide us. Only then will it be possible to be born from above. This calls for humility, inner peace and continued belief. With this, we shall be true Christians ready to act in love of God and of neighbour.
Prayer: O Jesus, grant us your Spirit.
HOW CAN THIS HAPPEN? The question of Nicodemus is a sign of desire to know how God acts in one’s life. He is a teacher who still has space and the openness to learn. Jesus introduces him into the heavenly things, for Jesus came down from heaven to make the reality of God known to humans. His greatest teaching about the nature of God will be when he is lifted up on the Cross in order to reveal not only the wisdom of God but also the love of God that moved him to send his Son into the world (Jn 3,16). With his Son a new world is possible where people learn to share and to live as brothers and sisters. The Church is a witness to this reality of God who gathers his children into one family where every one is respected and taken care of.
THE WIND BLOWS WHERE IT WILLS: How stupid are we when we are so deterministic about the actions of God in our lives and in the lives of others? How ignorant are we when we emphatically say that a particular work does not originate from the Holy Spirit? The wind blows where it wills. Are we willing to be surprised by God? The leaders of the Jews managed to get Jesus killed by the Romans because they were too sure of how God acts. They were unwilling to allow the wind to blow where it wills. They were certain that they had got rid of the Son of God. The God of surprises, however, showed his might by doing the unexpected; he raised Jesus from the dead. The experience of the Spirit of the Risen Christ by the early Christian community was an experience of a wind that gushed forth powerfully. The disciples witnessed to it in their common sharing and fellowship, being continually in prayer, and allowing the Spirit to surprise them even more.