Spiritual Rebirth

John 3: 1-8
Acts 4:23-31 / Psa 2

Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.
(John 3:6)

By our renewal now we’ve seen
How Jesus’ death won our salvation;
And thru God’s grace and mercy been
Born again by His Resurrection.

Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.” Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” Nicodemus asked, “How can someone be born when they are old? Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (John 3:1-8)

Reflection

Nicodemus’ predicament represented the basic problem of the Jewish leadership: the discerning eye to see beyond the obvious; the wisdom to accept as real what could not be seen or understood. Jesus made him understand that he must ‘see’ things divine not with the flesh, but with the spirit. Jesus’ words led to his conversion. Thus, when the Sanhedrin convened to discuss what to do with Jesus, he was the only one who questioned their obvious bias against the Savior. He questioned them, “Does our law condemn a person before it first hears him and finds out what he is doing?” Nicodemus eventually became a follower of Jesus. Together with Joseph of Arimathea, another secret disciple of Jesus, he came after the crucifixion bringing spices to prepare the body of Jesus for burial. (Jn. 19:39)

Like Nicodemus, our temporal concerns may at first had kept us from seeing the more important reason for our existence. As St. Paul pointed out in his letter to the Ephesians, “You were (once) dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world… disobedient… and gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts” (Eph.2:1-3). It was only when we were “born again” – after we entered the renewal through a charismatic community that the Holy Spirit made us see (spiritually) God’s plan in our lives. We came to understand how futile it was even for our best efforts to cross the vast chasm dividing our sinfulness and eternal salvation. Only by God’s mercy can this be accomplished, and no less than the great sacrifice and death of His only Son. Yes, as St. Paul continues, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Eph.2:8-10).

God’s grace continues to draw souls into His renewal. On May 21, 2011, we will start the sessions of our new chapter’s first Brotherhood Christian Life Program. As its Course Director, may I ask for your prayers, that our harvest may be blessed with an abundance of participants – that they may be born again into a new life in Christ.

Come, Holy Spirit, renew the face of the earth. Lord, send forth Your Spirit that more souls may come to see the renewal of their lives in our community. Amen.

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