A reading from the Holy Gospel according to John.
There was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.
He came to Jesus at 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 are doing
unless God is with him.”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless one is born from above, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.”
Nicodemus said to him,
“How can a man once grown old be born again?
Surely he cannot reenter his mother’s womb and be born again, can he?”
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless one is born of water and Spirit
he cannot enter the Kingdom of God.
What is born of flesh is flesh
and what is born of spirMonday of the Second Week of Easterit is spirit.
Do not be amazed that I told you,
‘You must be born from above.’
The wind blows where it wills,
and you can hear the sound it makes,
but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes;
so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
Good News Reflection:
Have you ever been asked, “Are you born-again?” Skip that question! Go directly to: “Is the Holy Spirit living within you, activating your faith, inspiring you to holy action?” Converting to Jesus Christ is not enough. A personal relationship with his Holy Spirit is what transitions a sinful person into a holy person.
As we celebrate the risen Lord throughout the Easter season, the Church repeatedly reminds us that after Easter comes Pentecost. We see the disciples in our first reading today, praying so fully in the Lord that they become overflowingly filled with the Holy Spirit.
It was the Holy Spirit who gave them unfettered boldness to proclaim God’s word; without this, they were scared and ineffective. Does your faith in Christ free you from what seems intimidating or frightening? Does your faith give you powerful boldness and confidence, causing you to take action for the sake of continuing Christ’s ministry?
It was the Holy Spirit who filled the first Christians with rejoicing when they faced persecution. Are you able to rejoice in the midst of troubles? It was the Holy Spirit who inspired them to pray and then deepened their prayer. Is your prayer life in need of help? It was the Holy Spirit, not an earthquake, who shook the room in which the disciples were gathered. Does your faith shake up your life? Do you sense the powerful presence of God when you gather in community?
In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus puts the baptism of the Holy Spirit on equal level with the baptism of water. The two work together. Baptism by water cleanses us from sin. The Holy Spirit empowers us to be holy and resist new temptations to sin. Does your faith enable you to overcome repeated tendencies to sin? By water, God’s holiness has replaced your fallen, sinful nature. By the Holy Spirit, God’s holiness has become your true nature.
The Holy Spirit is the key that unlocks our holiness: “No one can enter into God’s kingdom without being born of water and Spirit…. Spirit begets spirit.” We can only be Christ-like when his Holy Spirit is alive and active in us. We can only stay on the path to heaven when the Holy Spirit is our guide.
We lack nothing that’s needed for salvation and eternal life; the Holy Spirit was given to us fully during our Baptism, and this was confirmed in the Sacrament of Confirmation. To succeed in God’s plan of salvation, we must unite our spirit to the activities of Christ’s Spirit.
Here’s a prayer to the Holy Spirit that you can use in your daily prayers while preparing for the celebration of Pentecost: gnm.org/holy-spirit/. If you want copies of this to distribute in your parish, please see the published version at Catholic Digital Resources, where it is also available in Spanish: catholicdr.com/faithbuilders/prayers/HolySpirit-Prayer.htm.
Thank You, Lord Jesus, for Your Holy Spirit who helps us move away from our fallen nature and live a new life filled with Your grace, love, and holiness. Amen.
© 2017 by Terry A. Modica