The daily Gospel reading from the Mass for Monday of the Second Week of Easter is John 3:1-8.

After turning a huge amount of water into wine at the Wedding at Cana, in the first Passover in Jerusalem of His public ministry, Christ violently clears the massive Temple area of its shameful desecration of money-changers and merchants. Christ’s clearing of the Temple and other miraculous acts impress Nicodemus, a member of the ruling Jewish council (Sanhedrin). Nicodemus, afraid of being persecuted by the others on the Sanhedrin (who already hate Christ), stealthily approaches Christ at night; Nicodemus is spiritually in the dark not realizing that of Christ is the Light of the World. Later, Nicodemus will attempt to defend Christ against the murderous schemes of the Sanhedrin (John 7:30) and assist in Christ’s burial (John 19:39).

Not realizing Christ is the Son of God, Nicodemus takes the first steps of faith by acknowledging that Christ is a holy man who does wonderous “signs.” Christ mysteriously and emphatically responds (“Truly, truly..”), revealing that men must be “born anew” (more accurately,  “from above”) to see “the Kingdom of God.” Nicodemus, demonstrating his ignorance, takes Christ literally, absurdly thinking Christ is speaking about a second physical birth.

In a rebuke to Nicodemus, Christ is again emphatic (“Truly, truly”), but seeks to help Nicodemus by adding men must be “born of water and spirit”; “water” is a reference to Baptism (after this, Christ will go directly to the Jordan to endorse baptism) and “Spirit” refers to the Holy Spirit (which Christ earlier referred to as “born from above”). Christ explains in simple terms; what is born of the “flesh” (worldly) is different than what is born of the “Spirit” (from Heaven). Since Nicodemus is still bewildered, Christ explains by showing that men don’t understand the source of the wind (can also be translated as “Spirit”) and yet they accept the reality (hear) of the wind; so too is the Spirit a reality that allows men to be reborn.

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, Christ has eternal divine experience which is often difficult for even the learned to understand. Divine Teacher, Christ has perfect knowledge of each man’s understanding and guides each man to fully grasp of the mysteries of faith.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Though Christ is “true Man”, He is also “true God” and often speaks and acts in mysterious ways. Reflect upon Christ’s Divine Nature, marveling at how Christ teaches Infinite Wisdom in ways lowly men can grasp.

2) Like Nicodemus’ absurd literalism (how can a man enter his mother’s womb), some men attempt to read Scripture only literally. During Easter, renew your understanding of how the Church engages Scripture (CCC 109-119) and pray for Christ to lead you to deeper understanding.

3) Satan wins when men forget to call in the Holy Spirit to help them in times of temptation. During Easter, return to the truth that in your Baptism and Confirmation, you have been given the Holy Spirit (CCC 694, 1215, 1226, 1238, 1262-1274, 1302-1305); pray for Christ to help you recognize and accept the Holy Spirit in the daily Spiritual Combat.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Joyful Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Souls in Purgatory

Virtue of the Day – Prudence

Corporal Work of Mercy – To give drink to the thirsty

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To instruct the ignorant