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Tuesday of the Second Week of Easter
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.”
Opening Prayer: Holy Spirit, be with me as I reflect on the Scriptures today. Warm my heart with your presence and fill my soul with grace.
- Face to Face: Nicodemus had the grace to talk about spiritual truths with the living God, Jesus Christ. He knew Christ was someone special, and we can assume Nicodemus was seeking truth when he met with Christ. Why else would he have risked his reputation? But he was very confused by Jesus’s answers. Did he go away sad? Frustrated by his lack of understanding? We know that his encounter with Jesus was so compelling that Nicodemus eventually came out of the shadows to help with Christ’s burial (John 19:39-42). What would you say to Jesus if you had the opportunity to talk with him alone, face to face?
- Mission and Responsibility: Jesus seemed disappointed that Nicodemus, a teacher of Israel, could not grasp the concept of being born again. Furthermore, Jesus expressed his frustration that “you people do not accept our testimony.” Like Nicodemus, modern-day teachers, preachers, priests, and laypeople–all of us–have unique missions and responsibilities. Jesus has a right to demand of us an accounting for all we’ve been given. After all, he gave us our individual missions and all the grace and talent we need to succeed in them. Sometimes people will reject our testimony, as they did Jesus. Sometimes we will bear crosses, as did Jesus. Jesus invites us to rest in him (his yoke is light) so that we can fulfill our responsibility to know, love, and serve God and be with him forever in the next (Baltimore Catechism).
- Lifted Up: Even though Nicodemus repeatedly asked “why” and failed to grasp the truths Jesus was imparting, Jesus blessed him—Jesus predicted his crucifixion and shared with Nicodemus the totality of his Father’s mission: “so that all may have eternal life.” Nicodemus knew well from the Old Testament that anyone who gazed on Moses’s serpent lived (Numbers 21:9) and perhaps he finally understood what Jesus had been saying all along. Might he have trembled at the dawning realization that God was truly speaking to him? Was this the moment of conversion for this Pharisee?
Conversing with Christ: Lord, in our relationship, I have been confused, dense, doubting, and discouraged. But there have also been beautiful “Ah Ha!” moments where you blessed me with new insight or loving peace. I am grateful that you love me for who I am, not for what I do. I acknowledge my mission, and with the help of your grace, I will continue to try to achieve it little by little every day.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will reflect back on the “Ah Ha!” moments you have blessed me with to rekindle my faith.
For Further Reflection: Watch The Chosen portrayal of Nicodemus’s nighttime encounter with Jesus.
Written by Maribeth Harper