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Come Holy Spirit
Monday of the Second Week of Easter
There was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. He came to Jesus at night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God, for no one can do these signs that you are doing unless God is with him.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless one is born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man once grown old be born again? Surely he cannot reenter his mother’s womb and be born again, can he?” Jesus answered, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless one is born of water and Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God. What is born of flesh is flesh and what is born of spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I told you, ‘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.”
Opening Prayer: Come Holy Spirit into my heart as I reflect on the words of the Gospel and listen to the message that will be your gift to me for this day.
- What Can We Take Literally?: We can assume that Nicodemus was learned and high-ranking among his peers as a leading Pharisee. He made a nighttime visit to Jesus at great personal risk to his reputation. He acknowledged Jesus as a rabbi and recognized that “God is with him.” Yet, his spiritual sensitivity failed him when Jesus spoke of being “born from above.” Nicodemus apparently took Jesus literally asking, “How can a man once grown old be born again?” When we approach the work of the Spirit, especially in Scripture, we must be cognizant of discerning the proper sense. “According to an ancient tradition, one can distinguish between two senses of Scripture: the literal and the spiritual, the latter being subdivided into the allegorical, moral, and anagogical senses.” (CCC 115) The more time we spend with the word, the more spiritually sensitive we’re likely to become, and the less likely we’ll be to misinterpret Jesus’s actions in our life.
- Christ Is Approachable: Nicodemus chose to visit Jesus under cover of dark but many others of higher rank societally and much lower as well came to Jesus without reserve, in broad daylight, wherever he was—in the synagogue, on a boat in the Sea of Galilee, at Lazarus’s house, eating with sinners like Matthew and his friends, or at a well. What did they seek? The same things we look for in Jesus: peace, healing, security, and love. Jesus couldn’t have spread his arms any wider than he did from the cross to embrace every race, creed, and color of humanity. All are welcome in his kingdom. And as Christ’s disciples, we are also called to make no distinctions—to look at souls as Christ does, with unconditional love.
- The Mystery of the Spirit: Jesus told Nicodemus, “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.” The Holy Spirit is perhaps the most mysterious person of the Trinity. We call the Spirit “Counselor”or “Paraclete” but those words don’t begin to capture the Spirit’s dynamism. “The Holy Spirit, whom Christ the head pours out on his members, builds, animates, and sanctifies the Church. (CCC 747) When we are born of the Spirit, he burns away our sinfulness and transforms us by his gifts until we can’t help but yield the fruits of the Spirit in our lives: charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, chastity (CCC 1832).
Conversing with Christ: Lord, as a baptized Christian, I have been born of the Spirit. Help me to comprehend the workings of the Spirit in my soul so that I can more deeply appreciate the graces and gifts I have been given.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will read something illuminating about the Holy Spirit. (The Catechism is a good resource.)
For Further Reflection: The Sanctifier, by Archbishop Luis Martinez.
Written by Maribeth Harper.
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