Meditation for the Day

Monday of the Second Week of Easter, April 20

It Is in the Daily Practice of and the Faithful Witness We Give to Our Christian Faith That We Are Truly “Born from Above”.

We find in the Acts of the Apostles today words of praise and petition – “‘Lord…enable your servants to speak your word’…and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.”

The timeline for today’s First Reading is only a few short days after Pentecost, and, already, the Sanhedrin, the ruling elders of the Jewish people, were threatening the Apostles to remain quiet about Jesus. And yet, here we read that the early followers of the Risen Christ were praying for strength in the midst of persecution, and we are told they were “filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.”

One might say that these early Christians, who were filled with the Spirit of Truth and on fire with their love for God, were – to use the expression which tends to confuse so many people – “born again”.

Nicodemus, in our Gospel Reading for today, is asking to better understand the teachings of Jesus. And our Lord responds to him with the statement, “…unless one is born from above, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.” And Nicodemus responds, “How can a man once grown old be born again? Surely he cannot reenter his mother’s womb and be born again, can he?”

And what we see happening in the Acts of the Apostles explains, in a very real way, Jesus’ answer, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless one is born of water and Spirit he cannot enter the Kingdom of God.”

Unlike members of the Sanhedrin, the early Christians had opened their hearts to God’s Love and to His Truth, and the Spirit’s very Presence filled their lives with what one might call a “conversion” experience, and they “continued to speak the word of God with boldness” in the face of possible persecution and danger to themselves.

We are all “born again” in the life-giving waters of Baptism, in which we are infused with the Holy Spirit, freed from Original Sin and reborn and raised up as children of God, incorporated as members of the Body of Christ.

And what some share today as members of the Body of Christ is not unlike what the early Christians shared. Life for our early brothers and sisters in the faith was one in which they experienced persecution and sometimes death.

Sadly, there are many Christians who experience much the same today, for there are societies and governments throughout the world which feel contempt for those who proclaim God’s Truth, and there are Christians who are being martyred for their faith even in today’s world!

Even in my own country, we might not face a physical martyrdom for our beliefs, but there is a very real attack taking place on the teachings of Christianity by certain segments of our population and government, who neither wish to endorse nor embrace those Truths which are restrictive or inconvenient to the cultures of immorality, greed and personal or political power.

And this is especially true when the teachings of Christianity and our moral conscience become contrary to the atheistic culture of death and moral perversions which have embraced much of the world’s way of thinking – when it comes to the innocent unborn and the inconvenience of caring for the sick, the elderly and the infirm, and a growing imperative to change the very meaning of marriage established by God Himself so long ago in human history.

Even our psalmist in today’s Responsorial seems to ask an ageless question about the hard-heartedness of society with the words: “Why do the nations rage and the peoples utter folly? The kings of the earth rise up, and the princes conspire together against the LORD and against his anointed.”

But, in the end, our Lord will triumph over all those who try to subvert His Divine will. Just as He triumphed over death with His own Death and Resurrection, so, too, will He triumph again, in His time, over the world’s darkness with the help of all those who have been “born again” – with all those who have said “yes” to God’s Truth and who have been filled with His Most Holy Spirit!

And just as our early brothers and sisters were filled and strengthened with the Spirit of Truth to “speak the word of God with boldness”, may the hearts of His children today, both you and I, also become emboldened and set aflame by the Spirit who cannot be contained, who cannot be weakened – so that each of us may proclaim and boldly stand by the teachings and the Truth of Jesus Christ in a world of darkness which so badly needs to be reminded and converted to the pureness of His Light. For it is only in His Truth that we shall truly be set free from all the shadows which surround us!

And just as our early brothers and sisters prayed, “Lord…enable your servants to speak your word…” – may each of us be “filled with the Holy Spirit”. May each of us be “born again” – as we truly live our life of faith, as we truly give witness to the relationship which you and I have with Jesus Christ, who is our only Lord and Savior, and our most personal and intimate Friend and Brother.

For it is in the daily practice of and the faithful witness we give to our Christian faith that we are truly “born from above”!

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Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.

Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.

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Scripture for the Day

  • “And now, Lord…enable your servants to speak your word with all boldness…As they prayed, the place where they were gathered shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.” (Acts 4:29, 31)
  • “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…I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.’(John 3:3, 5b)
  • “Why do the nations protest and the peoples conspire in vain? Kings on earth rise up and princes plot together against the LORD and against his anointed one.” (Psalm 2:1-2)
  • “You were buried with [Christ Jesus] in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.” (Colossians 2:12)
  • “Blessed is the man who perseveres in temptation, for when he has been proved he will receive the crown of life that he promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12)
  • “Not only that, but we even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the holy Spirit that has been given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5)
  • “For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved. For the scripture says, ‘No one who believes in him will be put to shame.’” (Romans 10:10-11)
  • “Let us not grow tired of doing good, for in due time we shall reap our harvest, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)
  • “Jesus then said… ‘If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’(John 8:31-32)

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Prayer for the Day

“Late have I loved You, O Beauty ever ancient,
ever new, late have I loved You!
You were within me, but I was outside,
and it was there that I searched for You.

“In my unloveliness I plunged into the
lovely things which You created.
You were with me, but I was not with You.
Created things kept me from You;
yet if they had not been in You
they would have not been at all.

“You called, You shouted, and You broke through my deafness.
You flashed, You shone, and You dispelled my blindness.
You breathed Your fragrance on me;
I drew in breath and now I pant for You.
I have tasted You, now I hunger and thirst for more.
You touched me, and I burned for Your peace.”

Saint Augustine of Hippo (“The Confessions of Saint Augustine”)

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