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John 3:1-8

The Word of God

Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by 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 do apart from the presence of God." Jesus answered him, "Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above." Nicodemus said to him, "How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother's womb and be born?" Jesus answered, "Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, 'You must be born from above.' The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit."

John 3:1-8
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • What are the effects of fear in my life? Does it paralyse me? Render me incapable of speaking my truth? Do I need to find my voice?
    • Reflecting on my baptism, have I ever had a sense of being ‘re-born’, of any radical change in my life as a result of being baptised? What are my dreams of being ‘re-born?’ How different might my life be?
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    • Nicodemus was seeking to know who Jesus was. He went by night, probably because, being a Pharisee, he was afraid to do this openly. Yet Jesus welcomed him and took him very seriously. I too, and people I know, may be seeking after the truth yet afraid of doing this openly because of what others might think of them. Yet Jesus welcomes my good will and my efforts, and challenges me to be born anew.
    • I too, like Nicodemus, find it difficult to imagine how I can change what is so clearly a part of me. I ask for the grace to know where Jesus is inviting me to be born anew, in things large or small, and to do my best to fulfil his will.
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    • Cautious Nicodemus is spiritually as well as physically in the dark. Christ’s words light a slow burning wick that will blaze into light at the most unlikely time. After the Crucifixion, when everything seemed over, Nicodemus declared himself – coming to the garden tomb bearing myrrh and aloes.
    • I pray always in the Spirit, recalling the words of Pope Francis: “The Holy Spirit alone gives us the strength to change our attitude, to change the history of our life, to change our belonging”.
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    • Nicodemus was a logical and reasonable man; he was prepared to give time to considering what Jesus said. Yet his logical and reasonable habits came against him; the idea of being born again confounded him and he failed to see how he could achieve what Jesus suggested. But Jesus was not suggesting that he do anything! Just as a baby is not born of its own efforts, Jesus was inviting him – and us – to relax, to realise that we are held by God. Our origin is in God, it is God who brings us to life, it is in responding to God's call to life that we will come to life.
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    • The Spirit of God is everywhere: let’s allow ourselves be surprised by the Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit is the gift of God, and wherever we find joy, peace, compassion, justice, and anything of life, there we find the Holy Spirit. Prayer is our opening to this Spirit at prayer time and afterwards.
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    • Night-time can be a good time to pray. The busy world is quieter then and I am less likely to be disturbed. The night carries its own rich mystery too, which helps me to compose myself within the mystery of God. Monks pray in the night all their lives: can I do so for at least a few minutes before retiring?
    • When I let the Good Spirit guide me, life takes on a new dimension. I am no longer stuck in a groove, living a flat, dull life. I begin to notice God more. I see people freshly as images of God, extraordinary immortals. I see myself as a carrier of God’s great love which is to be shared. I become a freer spirit and a happier person.
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • Nicodemus was a Pharisee, one of a closely-knit brotherhood who were pledged to keep every detail of the Law, as expressed in the first five books of the bible. They were good people, but they had created such a maze of obligations that it was a life-time's work to remember them all. In face of that, Jesus was saying something simple: /Be born of the Spirit. Love God and love your neighbour/.
    • The love of God is poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who is given to us, and who makes us children of God. Lord, may I heed your spirit, and live by the spirit.
    • Prayer moments are moments 'to be born from above'. We allow cares, no matter how important to ourselves and others, to drift off for a while. We leave aside the phone and messages, and allow God become real in our lives, for God already lives in our hearts. We are born strong with God, and with God's grace being born in us, love is born too. Prayer is our daily time to rekindle love in our lives.
    • Nicodemus approaches Jesus with great caution and 'by night'. He does not commit himself openly. In what ways do I hold back from full commitment to him?
    • Jesus always knew what was in people, what their real agenda was. What did he see when he looked at Nicodemus? What does he see when he looks at me?
    • Nicodemus is a teacher. When Jesus tries to teach him, Nicodemus does not seem to learn. It is God's part to give, ours to receive. How receptive am I as a learner? Is my heart open? What are my limits and conditions?
    • I am formed of flesh and spirit. I wash, clothe and feed my body. What do I do to nourish my spirit?
    • The wind is used as an image of the Holy Spirit. Take some time to notice what wind does, how it affects the world, how it is an image of the movement of God. Be with Jesus looking at the ordinary, learning and becoming wise.