The daily Gospel reading from the Mass for Thursday of the Second Week of Easter is John 3:16-21.

Following Christ’s powerful actions in Jerusalem during the first Passover of His public ministry, Christ and the disciples return (Christ had previously been baptized by John the Baptist) to the area where John the Baptist continues to baptize. The Baptist’s disciples are concerned because all the people are abandoning John and are now turning to Christ to be baptized by the disciples (John 4:2).

The Baptist comforts his disciples by revealing that Christ is from Heaven, joyfully exclaiming, Christ “must increase, but I must decrease.” He reiterates that Christ is “from above [and] is above all.” In contrast, despite his own miraculous birth to the barren Elizabeth and elderly Zechariah, John confirms the infinite difference between Christ and himself; Christ is “above all”, John is “of the earth” and can only speak of the “earth.”

Recognizing that Christ is from Heaven, John confirms Christ speaks about what He has seen from the Father. Despite the fact that some men (perhaps the leaders in Jerusalem) are not yet accepting Christ, John, without reservation, endorses (“sets his seal to this”) Christ’s revelation as “true.” In a revelation of the Trinity, John discloses that Christ not only speaks the “words” of the Father, but Christ gives the Spirit without holding back. The Father loves the Son and has given Him all dominion. John reiterates Christ’s words about salvation and condemnation (John 3:16-21): those who believe in the Son will have eternal life and those who refuse to obey Christ will face eternal death with the wrath of God falling upon them.

Awed by Jesus ChristPerson of the Trinity, Christ is one with the Father and the Spirit. Son of God, the Father has given all dominion to the Son, including the power to give the Spirit. Divine Judge, Christ must be believed in for salvation; men who don’t believe will experience the wrath of God.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Men have a hard time fully conceiving the power of earthly things (tsunami, earthquakes, nuclear bombs). Be awed that the Father has given the Son absolute power over existence.

2) John the Baptist, the man God miraculously conceives by his elderly parents to “prepare the way” for Christ, says the man who “does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God rests upon him.” Meditate on these frightful words with holy fear and pray for Christ to help you turn from sin and obey Him.

3) To make progress in the battle with Sin, God has given men the astounding gift of the Holy Spirit. During Easter, consider God’s gift of the Holy Spirit (CCC 733-736) and pray for Christ to help you more fully accept the gifts of the Holy Spirit (wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord; CCC 1830-1832).

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Luminous Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Holy Eucharist

Virtue of the Day – Fortitude

Corporal Work of Mercy – To shelter the homeless

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To bear wrongs patiently