Friday, May 29, 2015

Gospel Text for Sunday 31 May 2015

John 3:1-17        There was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God." Jesus answered him, "Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above." Nicodemus said to him, "How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother's womb and be born?" Jesus answered, "Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, 'You must be born from above.' The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit." Nicodemus said to him, "How can these things be?" Jesus answered him, "Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?
"Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.  Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”

Reflection   “Are you a teacher, yet you do not understand these things?” Of course not. As a traditional teacher Nicodemus is listening to Jesus with the ears of his mind and is seeking a sensible, rational, fleshy explanation of Jesus’ words. That is why the story reports, Nicodemus “came to Jesus by night.” Nicodemus was in the dark. But Jesus is inviting Nicodemus  to open his ears to receive the words of the Spirit, the Vital Spark, the incomprehensible Essence of Life. Jesus is inviting Nicodemus into the light of consciousness expanded beyond the limits of physical life (being born of water) to experience consciousness of spiritual life (being born again of the Spirit). 
At this point in the Jesus narrative Nicodemus’ mind is occupied with the myriad things of the known world. He understands Jesus’ words literally rather than as fingers pointing beyond themselves to the unborn, undying, incomprehensible Unity of All that Is. 
And Jesus says, “Do not be astonished.” Can you almost hear Jesus elaborating? “You are so much more than what your senses perceive. Don’t you see, your good sense and sound judgment will not avail you of the Spirit of Truth? You will not recognize the Presence of God with you if you rely exclusively on your faculties of sense and reason. “You hear the sound of the wind, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes.” So it is with the Spirit, you experience its effects even though you cannot grasp it with your mind. ”
Jesus is pointing to the Mystery of Eternal life in which we all participate through the Spirit within. By opening our minds to the Mystery within we begin to experience the Mystery Beyond. This is the gateway of Eternal Life. This is being born again of the Spirit. This is participating in the mutual indwelling of the Holy Trinity. 

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