Posted by: RAM | April 15, 2012

Monday (April 16): “Unless one is born from above, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!

Month of the Holy Eucharist

Monday of the Second Week of Easter

Even though you possess plenty, you are still indigent. You abound in temporal possessions, but you need things eternal. You listen to the needs of a human beggar, yet yourself are a beggar of God. What you do with those who beg from you is what God will do with His beggar. You are filled and you are empty. Fill your empty neighbor with your fullness, so that your emptiness may be filled from God’s fullness.  — St. Augustine http://origin.ewtn.com/devotionals/inspiration.asp#16

First Reading:  Acts 4:23-31
Psalm 2:1-9
Blessed are all who take refuge in the Lord.
Gospel:                  John 3:1-8

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.”  http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/041612.cfm

Video reflection:  http://www.usccb.org/bible/reflections/

Reflection:  Do you nourish your faith with prayerful reflection of the word of God? When Nicodemus heard about Jesus’ miracles and extraordinary teaching, he decided to meet with him privately, away from the crowds and the public spotlight. Nicodemus was no ordinary Jew. He was a religious ruler and member of the Sanhedrin, which was the supreme court of the Jews, and a teacher of Israel (John 3:10). He was a devout Pharisee who sought to perfectly follow the law of Moses, as prescribed in the Five Books of Moses (Genesis, Exodus, Deuteronomy, Leviticus, and Numbers) and further elaborated in the numerous scribal laws, recorded in the Mishnah and the Talmud. Nicodemus decided to meet with Jesus at night, possibly for two reasons. He may have been cautious and  not ready to publicly associate himself with Jesus since many Pharisees opposed Jesus’ teaching and called him a Sabbath breaker. It is also likely that Nicodemus chose the night as the best time for seeking a private and undisturbed conversation with Jesus. The rabbis declared that the best time to study the law was at night after the day’s work was completed and the household was at rest. When Nicodemus saw Jesus he addressed him as rabbi (a teacher of God’s word and law) and acknowled that Jesus’ teaching came from God.

Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus went to the very heart of the Mosaic law – how can one get right with God and enter God’s kingdom? Jesus’ answer was brief and startling: “Unless one is born anew, he cannot see God.” The new birth which Jesus spoke about was not a physical birth but the beginning of a spiritual birth which is something completely new and radical, and from above, namely from God himself.  Jesus said that this rebirth was necessary if one was to enter God’s kingdom. Nicodemus thought that to be born again, even spiritually, was impossible. He probably knew too well from experience that anyone who wants to be changed, can’t change himself. Jesus explained that this change could only come about through the work and action of the Holy Spirit. This rebirth in the Spirit is very real and experiential, like the wind which can be felt and heard while it is visibly unseen to the naked eye.

What does it mean to be reborn in the Spirit? The  new birth Jesus speaks of is a spiritual birth to a new life and experiential relationship with God as his adopted sons and daughters (Romans 6:4; 8:10-11). This new birth is made possible when one is baptized into Christ and receives the gift of the Holy Spirit. God wants to renew all his people in the gift of new life in his Holy Spirit. This new life brings us into God’s kingdom and heavenly way of life. What is God’s kingdom? God’s kingdom is that society of men and women who acknowledge God as their Lord and who live according to his will on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10). To be reborn is to enter that society in which God is honored and obeyed, to live as citizens of heaven and members of God’s family – his sons and daughters, and to enter into possession of that life which comes from God himself, a never-ending life of love, peace, joy, and freedom from sin and the fear of death. Do you know the joy and freedom of new life in Jesus Christ?

“Lord Jesus Christ, you offer us a new birth in the Holy Spirit. Renew in me the gift of faith and new life in your Holy Spirit. Help me to draw near to you and to believe in your life-giving word. May your kingdom come and may your will be done in my life today, tomorow, and always.”  http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/apr16.htm

Saint of the Day:  St. Bernadette Soubirous (1844-1879)

Bernadette Soubirous was born in 1844, the first child of an extremely poor miller in the town of Lourdes in southern France. The family was living in the basement of a dilapidated building when on February 11,1858, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to Bernadette in a cave above the banks of the Gave River near Lourdes. Bernadette, 14 years old, was known as a virtuous girl though a dull student who had not even made her first Holy Communion. In poor health, she had suffered from asthma from an early age.

There were 18 appearances in all, the final one occurring on the feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, July 16. Although Bernadette’s initial reports provoked skepticism, her daily visions of “the Lady” brought great crowds of the curious. The Lady, Bernadette explained, had instructed her to have a chapel built on the spot of the visions. There the people were to come to wash in and drink of the water of the spring that had welled up from the very spot where Bernadette had been instructed to dig.

According to Bernadette, the Lady of her visions was a girl of 16 or 17 who wore a white robe with a blue sash. Yellow roses covered her feet, a large rosary was on her right arm. In the vision on March 25 she told Bernadette, “I am the Immaculate Conception.” It was only when the words were explained to her that Bernadette came to realize who the Lady was.

Few visions have ever undergone the scrutiny that these appearances of the Immaculate Virgin were subject to. Lourdes became one of the most popular Marian shrines in the world, attracting millions of visitors. Miracles were reported at the shrine and in the waters of the spring. After thorough investigation Church authorities confirmed the authenticity of the apparitions in 1862.

During her life Bernadette suffered much. She was hounded by the public as well as by civic officials until at last she was protected in a convent of nuns. Five years later she petitioned to enter the Sisters of Notre Dame. After a period of illness she was able to make the journey from Lourdes and enter the novitiate. But within four months of her arrival she was given the last rites of the Church and allowed to profess her vows. She recovered enough to become infirmarian and then sacristan, but chronic health problems persisted. She died on April 16, 1879, at the age of 35.

She was canonized in 1933.  http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1355

More Saints of the Day

Let me be the change I want to see. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.

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  1. […] Monday (April 16): “Unless one is born from above, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.” (shechina.wordpress.com) […]

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