Posted by: RAM | April 4, 2016

Tuesday (April 5): “You must be born from above.”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Eucharist

Tuesday of the Second Week of Easter
Lectionary: 268

First Reading: Acts 4:32-37
Psalms 93:1-2, 5: The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
Gospel: John 3:7-15

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.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/040516.cfm

Reflection: Do you know the healing power and victory of the cross of Jesus Christ? Jesus spoke to Nicodemus of a “new birth in the Spirit” which would come about through the victory he would accomplish through his death and rising. The Hebrew word for “spirit” means both “wind” and “breath”. Jesus explained to Nicodemus: You can hear, feel, and see the effects of the wind, but you do not know where it comes from. In like manner, you can see the effects of the Holy Spirit in the lives of those whom the Spirit touches with the peace, joy, and signs of God’s power and love at work in them.

The “lifting up” of the Son of Man
Jesus explained to Nicodemus that the “Son of Man” must be “lifted up” to bring the power and authority of God’s kingdom to bear on the earth. The title, “Son of Man,” came from the prophet Daniel who describes a vision he received of the Anointed Messiah King who was sent from heaven to rule over the earth (Daniel 7:13-14). Traditionally when kings began to reign they were literally “lifted up” and enthroned above the people. Jesus explains to Nicodemus that he will be recognized as the Messiah King when he is “lifted up” on the cross at Calvary. Jesus died for his claim to be the Messiah King sent by the Father to redeem, heal, and reconcile his people with God.

Jesus points to a key prophetic sign which Moses performed in the wilderness right after the people of Israel were afflicted with poisonous serpents. Scripture tells us that many people died in the wilderness because of their sin of rebellion towards Moses and God. Through Moses’ intervention, God showed mercy to the people and instructed Moses to “make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and every one who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live”(Numbers 21:8). This miraculous sign was meant to foreshadow and point to the saving work which Jesus would perform to bring healing and salvation to the world.

Cyril of Alexandria (376-444 AD), an early church father, explains the spiritual meaning of the bronze serpent and how it points to the saving work of Jesus Christ:

“This story is a type of the whole mystery of the incarnation. For the serpent signifies bitter and deadly sin, which was devouring the whole race on the earth… biting the Soul of man and infusing it with the venom of wickedness. And there is no way that we could have escaped being conquered by it, except by the relief that comes only from heaven. The Word of God then was made in the likeness of sinful flesh, ‘that he might condemn sin in the flesh’ [Romans 8:3], as it is written. In this way, he becomes the Giver of unending salvation to those who comprehend the divine doctrines and gaze on him with steadfast faith. But the serpent, being fixed upon a lofty base, signifies that Christ was clearly manifested by his passion on the cross, so that none could fail to see him.” (COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF JOHN 2.1)

New birth in the Spirit
The bronze serpent which Moses lifted up in the wilderness points to the cross of Christ which defeats sin and death and obtains everlasting life for those who believe in Jesus Christ. The result of Jesus “being lifted up on the cross” and his rising from the dead, and his exaltation and ascension to the Father’s right hand in heaven, is our “new birth in the Spirit” and adoption as sons and daughters of God. God not only frees us from our sins and pardons us, he also fills us with his own divine life through the gift and working of his Spirit who dwells within us.

The Holy Spirit gives us spiritual power and gifts, especially the seven-fold gifts of wisdom and understanding, right judgment and courage, knowledge and reverence for God and his ways, and a holy fear in God’s presence (see Isaiah 11), to enable us to live in his strength as sons and daughters of God. Do you thirst for the new life which God offers you through the transforming power of his Holy Spirit?

“Lord Jesus Christ, your death brought life for us. Fill me with your Holy Spirit that I may walk in freedom and joy in the knowledge of your great victory over sin and death.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/apr5.htm  www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2016 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Vincent Ferrer, Patron of Builders
St. Vincent Ferrer is the patron saint of builders because of his fame for “building up” and strengthening the Church: through his preaching, missionary work, in his teachings, as confessor and adviser.  At Valencia in Spain, this illustrious son of St. Dominic came into the world on January 23, 1357. In the year 1374, he entered the Order of St. Dominic in a monastery near his native city. Soon after his profession he was commissioned to deliver lectures on philosophy. On being sent to Barcelona, he continued his scholastic duties and at the same time devoted himself to preaching. At Lerida, the famous university city of Catalonia, he received his doctorate. After this he labored six years in Valencia, during which time he perfected himself in the Christian life. In 1390, he was obliged to accompany Cardinal Pedro de Luna to France, but he soon returned home. When, in 1394, de Luna himself had become Pope at Avignon he summoned St. Vincent and made him Master of the sacred palace. In this capacity St. Vincent made unsuccessful efforts to put an end to the great schism. He refused all ecclesiastical dignities, even the cardinal’s hat, and only craved to be appointed apostolical missionary. Now began those labors that made him the famous missionary of the fourteenth century. He evangelized nearly every province of Spain, and preached in France, Italy, Germany, Flanders, England, Scotland, and Ireland. Numerous conversions followed his preaching, which God Himself assisted by the gift of miracles. Though the Church was then divided by the great schism, the saint was honorably received in the districts subject to the two claimants to the Papacy. He was even invited to Mohammedan Granada, where he preached the gospel with much success. He lived to behold the end of the great schism and the election of Pope Martin V. Finally, crowned with labors, he died April 5, 1419. His feast day is April 5. http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=723

More Saints of the Day
St. Albert of Montecorvino
St. Becan
St. Derferl-Gadarn
St. Ethelburga
St. Gerald of Sauve-Majeure
St. Maria Crescentia Hoss
Martyrs of Lesbos
Martyrs of London
St. Theodore and Pausilippus
St. Vincent Ferrer
St. Zeno

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito

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