Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day all of us as Christians are reminded of God’s presence in our midst and within our lives as we are called to put our trust and faith in Him more and more especially during difficult and challenging moments of our lives, as we have truly become God’s own beloved ones, His children whom He had gathered from among the nations and received from Him the gift of His own Holy Spirit and love.
In our first reading today, we heard of the moment when the Apostles St. Peter and St. John had just been released from their ordeal of being interrogated by the Sanhedrin or the Jewish High Council. The members of the Sanhedrin were unhappy at the works and the teachings that they carried out in the community and wanted to silence all of them by threatening them not to preach anymore in the Name of the Lord Jesus, but this was not enough to stop the Apostles from the resolve to serve God in the same way.
The disciples were joyful to receive the two Apostles back safely at their place, and they prayed to God, giving thanks for all that He had done for them, and at the same time also praying for the guidance and strength to be able to face the challenges and trials that would certainly come their way. They trusted in the Lord fully and asked Him to stretch out His hand and provide them with strength and healing for their sake through Jesus Christ, His Son, that they might be able to endure through the difficult moments.
In our Gospel today then we heard of the encounter between the Lord Jesus and Nicodemus, one of the respected members of the Pharisees, who was one of the few Pharisees who were sympathetic to the cause and the teachings of Jesus. In fact, as mentioned by the Scriptures, Nicodemus was even faithful to the point of becoming Christ’s secret follower, and he together with Joseph of Arimathea helped to embalm and prepare the Body of Jesus for burial after His death.
Nicodemus was interested in the truth which was taught by the Lord and he was deeply intrigued by what he had heard in those teachings that Christ delivered to the people. And he told the Lord in that encounter as described in the Gospel, on how he truly believed that Christ had indeed come from God and was sent by Him into the world for its salvation. The Lord then told him that no one can truly see the kingdom of God unless he or she was to be born again from above, and in the Spirit, which intrigued Nicodemus even further.
What did the Lord mean by being born again in the Spirit, brothers and sisters in Christ? In truth, the meaning of this born again in the Spirit is first and foremost, fundamentally lies in our Sacrament of Baptism which all of us as Christians had gone through either as infants or as adult converts to the faith. But all of us share in that same Baptism, by which we have all been marked by the sign of faith, and sealed by that same Baptism, receive the fullness of God’s grace and also the gifts of His Holy Spirit.
Essentially what we have heard from the Lord is a reminder that through our baptism, we have been ‘reborn’ into this new life and existence in God, that we no longer live just according to our flesh, but also according to the Spirit, the Holy Spirit that we have received from God. This is significant because we are then called to live in holiness and strive for that holiness at all times, in all of our actions and in our every interactions, words and deeds. Are we able to do that, brothers and sisters in Christ?
We are challenged to do more as part of the Church and as a member of the faithful people of God, to be truly faithful in our words and actions that we truly embody and personalise what we have believed in. We are called to be genuine witnesses of His Resurrection and truth in our own communities, to be faithful even in the midst of opposition and challenges we may encounter throughout this journey of faith.
May the Lord be with us always, just as He has been with His disciples, blessing them and providing them with strength, courage and with His wonderful providence during their faithful commitment to the work of the Gospel and salvation. May God be with us and may He give us the strength and courage to follow in the footsteps of the Apostles. Amen.