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.”
Introductory Prayer: Lord, you know my needs better than I do. I turn to your Spirit to teach me what to ask for in this prayer. I want to fulfill your holy will over my life. I love you, Lord, and I place all my hope in you.
Petition: Lord, increase my faith!
1. You Are the Teacher of Israel: Nicodemus was one of the leading teachers, yet here he tries to make a quiet request for information from Jesus. As a religious teacher he was well versed in the rules and regulations, but there was still a gap in his knowledge. He didn’t know about the Holy Spirit and the new existence that we receive by being born of “water and the spirit.” In a way, he can’t be blamed, since Jesus had not yet revealed it, but it just goes to show us how fundamental spiritual knowledge is in order to be a credible spiritual leader. As committed Catholics, we need to lead others to deeper faith. But will we do so to the degree that we know the faith and are living it in our hearts?
2. Being Born of the Spirit: Are we practical materialists? At times we become so enmeshed in the reality of daily life that we don’t give the slightest thought to the spiritual world, which is infinitely greater than the material one that consumes all our attention. Through our baptism, we are marked out for heavenly things. We bear on our soul the indelible mark that proclaims to the universe that we are children of God. Every time we take a spiritual breath, and glance heavenwards, we renew that birth in the Spirit through which the Lord claimed us as his own. Let us never spend more than a minute as practical materialists!
3. Giving Testimony: Jesus speaks here about giving testimony. He wants us to be his witnesses as well. He wants us to continue to proclaim to the world the reality of the “heavenly things” that he revealed. Possibly the greatest testimony we can give is the happiness and charity of our lives. Joyful, charitable Catholics carry in their very demeanor the sign that their faith is authentic. Before you get angry, upset, or critical, ask yourself, “Is this the testimony of a life filled with the Holy Spirit?”
Conversation with Christ: Lord, thank you for the gift of the Holy Spirit in my life. At times, I don’t always live in accord with the great blessing you have given me, but I know that your patience and mercy always give me another chance. Help me to love others and give them a glimpse of heaven through my charity.
Resolution: In my conversation today, I will try to say something that will plant a spiritual seed in others.