“Amen, amen, I say to you, unless one is born of water and Spirit he cannot enter the Kingdom of God.”

With the Easter Octave over, we have completed the various accounts of the Resurrection and its aftermath.  Today we move back to an early part of John (3:1-8).  It is Jewish leader Nicodemus who seeks out Jesus in the dark of night.  Nicodemus affirms that Jesus “has come from God” because of the “signs” (v. 2) He has done.  Jesus answers this by saying that one must be “born from above” (v. 3 — misinterpreted by Nicodemus as “born again” in v. 4) to see and enter the Kingdom of God.  Nicodemus and others of his ilk have seen a glimpse of the Kingdom through Jesus’ works, and they are impressed.  Yet belief in Him has not yet come to them.  While miracles and other supernatural signs might be a gateway toward belief (cf. Jn 10:37-38), much more than acknowledging or appreciating such events is required.  Any healing or even raising from the dead done by Jesus did not guarantee that the person affected would achieve eternal life in heaven and it certainly did not mean they would not experience hardships and finally death on earth.  (Remember how Jesus admonished the man ill for thirty eight years to “not sin any more, so that nothing worse may happen to you” [Jn 5:14] — being an invalid for that long is very bad, but eternal misery is infinitely worse).  What is needed is faith.  Faith is a gift of the Holy Spirit freely given to those who have opened themselves up to the Truth.  Jesus is asking Nicodemus (and us) to be fully open to the Truth which is Him so that our faith can increase, our hope in the Kingdom can some day be realized, and our love for God and others will be perfected.  As we read about the Spirit and His work, let us ask for an increase in the graces He dispenses as we anticipate Pentecost.

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