A Process of Renewal

akg-images - Christ and Nicodemus

Daily Reflection – 4/20/2020

Sacred Scripture

Now 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, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a person once grown old be born again? Surely he cannot reenter his mother’s womb and be born again, can he?” Jesus answered, “Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of flesh is flesh and what is born of spirit 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.”( John 3:1-8)

Reflection

This is a verse from scripture which had been co-opted by some. But the concept of “being born again” is not a one- time event. It is given to all of us through our baptism and it is a continual journey which needs to be lived day after day. In fact, it is the root of the Christian faith.

Let’s take that apart for a bit. Scripture is clear that we must receive a new birth in Christ. The old self must die and the new self must be reborn. This is what it means to become a Christian. We take on a new life in Christ.

Being born again happens by water and the Holy Spirit. When we are baptized, we enter into the waters and die with Christ. As we rise from the waters, we are reborn in Him. This means that baptism does something truly amazing in us.

Think about the import of that. We enter into the waters and die with Christ. As we rise, we are reborn with Him.

This new birth Jesus speaks of is a spiritual birth to a new life and an experiential relationship with God as his sons and daughters. God wants to renew all his people in the gift of new life in his Holy Spirit. This new life brings us into God’s kingdom and heavenly way of life. What is God’s kingdom? God’s kingdom is that society of men and women who acknowledge God as their Lord and who live according to his will on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10). To be reborn is to enter that society in which God is honored and obeyed, to live as members of God’s family – his sons and daughters, and to enter into possession of that life which comes from God himself, a never-ending life of love, peace, joy, and freedom from sin and the fear of death.

It is that mysterious presence of God who moves you to acts of generosity and kindness when you could just as easily walk away. He is the One who helps you forgive a long-standing hurt even though the wound still stings. And he is the One who can give you courage to share your faith with a neighbor despite an inner reluctance.

Every time you follow these promptings, you become a little more mysterious to the people around you—and a little more attractive. That’s because with each act of kindness or faithfulness, you become more like Jesus, the most mysterious and attractive person who ever lived.

It is that conversion which cannot be a one-time event. It is an ongoing, never-ending dynamic process, one that can easily be interrupted and even destroyed. It is the Holy Spirit who inspires that process of conversion and gives it new inspiration and vitality. It is the Holy Spirit finally who changes us from mere professed followers of Christ into mature, enthusiastic adults in the faith. It is this conversion that Jesus is talking about in the gospel. Do you know the joy and freedom of new life in Jesus Christ?

 Prayer of The Day

“Lord Jesus Christ, you offer us a new birth in the Holy Spirit. Renew in me the gift of faith and new life in your Holy Spirit. Help me to draw near to you and to believe in your life-giving word.  May your kingdom come and may your will be done in my life today, tomorrow, and always.”

Daily Note

it is essential for a person to be baptized and to live out that faith in order to be saved. This means that we must study, understand and live out our faith and develop our own spiritual lives. We, as baptized people, have an obligation to proclaim the Risen Lord as did Peter and John.

 

 

 

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