The Good News for the day, April 9, 2018
Monday in the Second Week of Easter (265)
There was a Pharisee once—Nicodemus—a leading Judean politician. He came to Jesus by night saying this, “Rabbi, we know –you’re a teacher come from God; nobody can do these impressive things you do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “The fact is, unless somebody gets born from a superior place—that person cannot “get” the “other world.” Nicodemus asked “How can someone—once grown mature—be born again? Certainly, a person can’t re-enter his mother’s womb and be born again—can that ever happen?” Jesus answered, “The fact is, unless someone gets born of water and Spirit he cannot enter the Other Realm. What is born of flesh is flesh and what is born of spirit is spirit. Don’t be surprised at what I have told you, when I say, ‘You got to be born from a superior place.’ Life-giving air blows wherever it wants to—and you can hear the sound it makes! But you have no idea where it is coming form or going to—and that is the mystery of everybody “born of the life-giving Spirit/wind.” (John 3)
So many conversations—whether speaking or in print—are not authentic at all They are social—we say clichés to one another. Here we have a real exchange of selves.
Nicodemus, a politician, sneaks in to visit this ambiguous “revolutionary” to ask a question without asking it. He admits Jesus—probably—comes from God. That low-key admission of faith is enough for Jesus to “lay it out for him”—you got to start all over as far as I am concerned (“amen, amen I say to you’); you got to start a new life—to “become reborn in the spirit.”
I don’t get it, Nicodemus sensibly answers, what’s this “born again”? Jesus echoes Genesis 1—formless water and hovering “spirit” give form, life, and the future!
You and I need to listen! You are flesh and blood—and doomed to die—to suffer grief and loss, to sin and screw up. Jesus offers you, each moment, a New Way of Life, as radical as a totally new Creation—as crucial as the start of Everything. If you accept the air you breathe with gratitude, and water (=life), you get it—that our world is offering you a “newer” Life each instant—each breath, each sip of water.
Yes, Christianity can form around this insight, this appreciation of Life—and incorporate baptismal water and the mysteries of the invisible air-Spirit as (sacramental) signs—but the truth is more fundamental, Jesus says. It is about you and God and creation permanently—to realize as an adult you can live a completely New Life, with a Different Attitude, a Sacred, Permanent, joyful, peaceful intimacy with God. It is not a part time life, but a total, continuous sense of gratitude.