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Father Steven Reilly, LC
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.”
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.
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?
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!
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.
In my conversation today, I will try
to say something that will plant a spiritual seed