Tuesday of the Second Week of Easter, April 21
May the Holy Spirit Truly Guide Our Lives, So That We May Be Selfless in the Love We Show Towards Others; and May the Gift of Faith Guide Us in Our Journey to a Greater Holiness and a More Intimate Union with Our God.
We find in our First Reading today, “The community of believers was of one heart and mind…”
From the Acts of the Apostles, Luke is presenting a picture to us of what life for the early Christian believers was like in the Jerusalem community. This portrait that he paints emphasizes a life of selfless charity, wherein wealthier Christians, those who had much more than others, would sell their possessions and distribute their surplus, when the needs of the community’s poor required it.
Our Reading also introduces Barnabas, who appears later in Acts as a friend and companion to Saint Paul, and who, as noted here, endeared himself to the Christian-Jewish community by a donation of money through the sale of his personal property.
What a difference this world would be today if people truly lived lives of selfless caring for one another, as the early Christians did some two thousand years ago!
Perhaps there would be much more peace in the world. People might no longer think of themselves as individuals but as brothers and sisters. Some might even reach out to the broader community with love, and lives would be changed for the better.
Why? – because when we open ourselves up to God’s Spirit, our love becomes animated by the Spirit Himself, and that love becomes contagious! It attracts people and inspires them to seek the Lord for themselves, arousing and inspiring them to seek the joy and peace which only God can give.
And that is what our Lord was teaching Nicodemus in today’s Gospel. Jesus was instructing Nicodemus on the necessity of a new birth from above, both by water and spirit, a symbolism of our Baptism.
And Jesus goes on to tell him the Truth about the workings of the Holy Spirit, and it is the Spirit’s choice as to whom He chooses to give the gift of new life, when Jesus says, “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.”
This passage teaches us that our being born into the faith and receiving the Sacrament of Baptism are both gifts from God. And as we grow and progress through life, how we accept or reject the gift of faith God has given to us becomes a guiding element in the direction our lives will take, for God will never take away the gift of our free-will.
In our First Reading, the lives of the early Christian communities were guided by their belief in the teachings of the Apostles. They used their free-will to be open to the Spirit and embraced the selfless love which Jesus taught, not only by word but also by the example He gave on the Cross.
And these early Christian communities were living examples of placing our beliefs into living action – living lives of communal sharing, love and charity!
And in today’s Gospel, Jesus is helping Nicodemus to understand and believe in the workings of the Holy Spirit, when, in talking about Himself, He says, “…so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”
Even our psalmist today is singing a hymn of praise to the God who guides our every step we take through life, “Your decrees are worthy of trust indeed: holiness befits your house, O LORD, for length of days.”
Before this coronavirus pandemic came upon the world, and for those of us who would go to Church and receive the Sacraments regularly, for those of us whose hearts, minds and souls are truly opened to the gifts of the Holy Spirit, we embrace the belief that Jesus is the Son of God, Co-Eternal and Co-Equal with the Father, and that He is truly Present – Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity – in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, given to us by Christ Himself through the words and actions of His priest at the moment of Consecration during Mass.
But what about those who have left our faith community, and those who have rejected the gift of faith from their hearts? They are still God’s children. They are still our brothers and sisters in Christ; and they still deserve our love and our prayers.
One of the problems that face many Christians and non-Christians alike in today’s secular society is something which I have addressed, from time to time, in different meditations – moral and theological relativism.
Relativism – a “two-dollar-word” which means that truth is relative to one’s way of thinking and one’s way of life.
There are no moral or theological standards upon which one’s thinking or one’s life is based. That is why it is so dangerous to one’s personal salvation, for such thinking and behavior are absent of any core belief. In other words, God exists with a small “g”, and exists only in our minds as an ideal or as something we use to quiet our fears. This is their rationale in rejecting the gift of faith.
And sadly, it is this very rationale which has allowed the evils of abortion and same-sex unions to exist and become firmly entrenched in today’s world societies. It is this very rationale which promotes a culture of death and the loss of wholesome family values that we hear about so often, affecting the very moral climate in which we and our families live.
It is a way of thinking which places secularism and moral and theological relativism in the forefront of one’s way of life. And for the sake of one’s eternal salvation, this relativistic way of thinking has been condemned by many of our Holy Fathers, for it ignores the Salvific action of our Lord when He endured His Most Holy Passion!
Sometimes, we see this in our friends and neighbors; sadly, many families see this in their children when they walk away from the practice of their faith for the lure – the attraction – that the secularism of this world holds for them.
This is why Nicodemus would meet with Jesus secretly, out of fear of being ostracized by his own peers in the Sanhedrin, for the Pharisees of Jesus’ day were true relativists in every sense of the term! And because of their lack of faith, Christ would expose and chastise them time-and-time again for their hypocrisy, which was truly offensive to God!
The question then begs itself to be asked by every faith-filled believer – “How do we combat these evils?”
The only answer that I can provide which has any real measure of success is prayer! Offering our Masses and Communions, praying the Rosary which our Blessed Mother has been deeply imploring of us time and time again, praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy which our Heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus asked of us through Saint Faustina, and other prayer offerings from the depths of our being – all will help appease God’s sadness and displeasure with the direction in which our secular cultures are moving.
Remember the words of our Lord’s Prayer – “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” This is what we pray for, and that is how the early Christians lived their lives, selflessly reaching out to others, so that God’s Kingdom could truly be felt within their communities of faith and love.
May the Holy Spirit of Divine Truth, Love and Wisdom truly guide our lives, so that we, too, may be selfless in the love we show towards one another. And may the gift of faith with which He has filled our hearts and souls, guide us in our journey to a greater holiness and a more intimate union with the God who loves each of us beyond all human understanding.
And may each of us, just as was our early Christian brothers and sisters, become a “community of believers…of one heart and mind…”! †
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.
Scripture for the Day
- “The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common…There was no needy person among them…” (Acts 4:32, 34a)
- “Jesus answered, ‘Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of flesh is flesh and what is born of spirit is spirit.’” (John 3:5-6)
- “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.” (John 3:7-8)
- “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.” (John 3:14-15)
- “Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16)
- “…light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil.” (John 3:19b)
- “Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” (Romans 8:8)
- “Do not love the world or the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, sensual lust, enticement for the eyes, and a pretentious life, is not from the Father but is from the world.” (1 John 2:15-16)
- “…live by the Spirit and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16)
- “Be eager to present yourself as acceptable to God, a workman who causes no disgrace, imparting the word of truth without deviation.” (2 Timothy 2:15)
Prayer for the Day
“Heavenly and Eternal Father,
help me to live my life as it pleases Your Divine will.
Assist me to recognize You in all whom I meet,
and to live the virtues which our holy faith espouses.
“But many are the seductions and lies which assault me;
many are the temptations which weaken my resolve;
for the prince of this world disguises himself as an angel of light,
entrapping many who fall victim to his wiles and deceptions.
“It is Satan who spreads seeds of disruption,
stealing souls who rightfully belong to You.
Give me Your Holy Spirit to enlighten and strengthen me,
keeping me safe from all that would destroy my soul.
“It is You, Almighty God, whom I desire in life and for eternity;Anonymous
it is Your Love with which I wish to be forever embraced.
I pray, save me from the snares of the evil one,
and I shall be found praising the wonders of Your Glory forever. Amen.”