2nd Week of Easter,Wednesday

Readings: Acts 5:17–26; Psalm 34:2–9; John 3:16–21.

Today’s Gospel continues the thread of yesterday’s to a certain degree: if you don’t trust a witness, you don’t trust his testimony. If God is not worthy of trust, then it is no surprise that his gestures toward us would be interpreted in a negative light: he’d be seen as someone imposing things on our lifestyle and condemning us if our life is not in accordance with his will.

If I was sliding down a slope toward a nasty fall, or trapped down in the bottom of a pit, and Our Lord appeared up top with a rope, what would I think? Has he come to rescue me or to tie me up? Our Lord draws close to us in order to save us, often from ourselves. Many times we don’t even realize that we are down in a hole or sliding down a slippery slope, and the fact that he draws near in that moment is not only to warn us, but to give us the opportunity to be rescued: Our Lord warns us about the dangers of sin and offers to rescue us, if we allow it.

Our Lord invites us today to step out of the darkness and come into the light not only to come clean, but to save us. If we acknowledge God as a Savior and not as the superficial caricature of someone always condemning and infringing on our life without lifting a finger to help, we also acknowledge something about ourselves: that we haven’t lived as good or as holy a life as we should have, and that we need his help to change, not just because it is pleasing to God, but also because it is good for us. Let’s reach out to God today by stepping out more into the light and accepting his help to live a better, holier, and happier life.


Second Week of Easter,Tuesday

Readings: Acts 4:32–37; Psalm 93:1–2, 5; Gospel John 3:7b–15.

If you don’t trust a witness you’re not going to trust his testimony. Nicodemus seems to be doing a little cross-examination because he doesn’t understand and therefore doesn’t trust. Our Lord in today’s Gospel is inviting Nicodemus to have a greater faith. When Jesus speaks about the difference between earthly things and heavenly things he is also speaking about how a greater faith opens us to a deeper understanding of the mysteries of God, even though in this life we’ll never complete fathom the mystery.

Our Lord has come down from Heaven and, therefore, is an eyewitness to the things of Heaven. He’s inviting Nicodemus to trust in his testimony, and this is a trust that is born of faith. The sign of Moses lifting up the serpent in the desert (Num 21:4-9) is a story of God asking his people to show their faith in him by believing that looking upon a lifeless bronze serpent will result in something that obviously a bronze image cannot do: save them from death. This story from Numbers was only a foreshadowing of looking up at Jesus crucified upon the Cross and believing that instead of a simple execution he is giving witness to the depth of God’s love and mercy as well as the true horror of sin.

Let’s contemplate Our Lord upon the cross today and ask him to help us to trust more in his testimony and the testimony of his disciples so that we can pass from an understanding of earthly things to an understanding of heavenly ones as well.

Second Week of Easter, Monday

Readings: Acts 4:23–31; Psalm 2:1–9; John 3:1–8.

Nicodemus in today’s Gospel says he believes in Our Lord as a teacher from God due to the signs he has performed, but his faith is very tentative, maybe even a little rationalistic. He comes at night, so he’s not ready to commit publicly to Jesus yet. What a contrast with the disciples praying together after the Resurrection in the First Reading. Luke describes the Holy Spirit as shaking the place where they’re praying and filling them with boldness in speaking the word of God.

To really enter into the Kingdom of God, Our Lord teaches Nicodemus, a birth of water and Spirit is needed. Christians have had that spiritual birth of water and the Spirit on the day of their baptism. It conferred a new life, a life of the Spirit, and often the effects of that life are not evident unless we see things with the eyes of faith. An attitude of faith is a consequence not only of faith in Christ, but a gift of grace that we receive at baptism. By living as Christians we are showing that the life of the Spirit that has been sown in us is growing and bearing fruit, and in turn Our Lord makes that faith grow and opens our eyes to seeing God’s action in everything.

Nicodemus decided to approach Our Lord because he concluded that the signs Jesus performed could only be done by someone who has God with him. Imagine how he would have reacted in that moment if he realized that Jesus was God Himself. Our Lord teaches Nicodemus that the movements of the Spirit are not always so easily tracked and connected. Let’s examine our faith today and accept Our Lord’s invitation to build on that new life we’ve received from water and the Spirit by having a faith that tries to be attentive to the signs of the Spirit’s presence when they are revealed, and to be open to what Our Lord seeks to teach us in order to live this new life in him more fully.