The Gospel according to John (3:1-8)
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?” Jesus answered, “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 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.”
Opening Prayer: Come Holy Spirit into my heart as I reflect on the words of the Gospel and listen to the message that will be your gift to me for this day
Encountering Christ: When fishing rivers or streams, one of the most important skills to acquire is how to “read the water”. In other words, you need to be able to analyze what habitat is under the water and which habitat is admirable to the fish therefore you can determine where the fish are. There are times when I go fishing in the Sierras and the wind is blowing so hard it makes it very hard to cast a line and almost impossible to fly cast. But you learn how to use the wind to your advantage so you could cast. In these windy conditions you must find a premium spot with the wind at your back and it’s the right habitat for the fish. This is not so easy because there are so many times when you see a great spot and know there are fish but it’s way too windy to make the attempt. Well, sometimes temptation gets the best of you because you know there are fish, you cast anyway and now your line is stuck in the weeds on the other side of the river. This has happened to me more times that I can remember and each time a voice (God) comes in my head and says, “I told you so”.
Today’s scripture reminds me about those days on the river when the wind blows. And the teacher is telling me that He (God) is the water and spirit and it’s up to me to see His signs and accept it. In Hebrew, there is word “Ruah” which is translated to wind or spirit depending on its context. This same spirit is with us throughout our lives, each and every day, every moment and every breadth. All we have to do is acknowledge it and accept the path we are asked to journey on.
Nicodemus allowed the spark of faith within him to grow as He listened to Jesus, struggled with the pressure from his peers, but ultimately openly professed his faith in Christ. And though this hurt his worldly position of honor within the Sanhedrin and among the earthly rulers, it earned Nicodemus an eternal honor in Heaven. Think about the courage he must have had to go against the pressure of his peers by allowing the faith he found in Christ to grow and fill his life with the light of Truth. Seek to imitate this good man and allow yourself to be inspired by his courage so that you, too, will receive the same eternal glory he now enjoys in Heaven.
Deacons Fish Story: There was a time when I was fishing in those windy conditions that I spoke about above. And one day there was this fantastic spot that I knew had a big trophy trout. So, of course, temptation got the best of me and I was casting against the wind and my line was going everywhere except where I needed it. In my stubbornness, I continued and continued and continued until I was too tired and very frustrated. While I stood at the edge of the river frustrated, a voice (Holy Spirit) came to me and told me to go up the river and cast from another point. It didn’t look like a great spot but what did I have to lose. So, I got there and made my cast. I could see my line being blown the wrong direction again, it landed in another part of the river, and immediately I thought failure. The very moment that I thought this had happened, a huge explosion emerged from the river where my fly was! It was that very same trout, and he took my fly! FISH ON and he was a beauty! He ran up stream, then downstream, then jumped above the water, and he put on a great fight. I finally retrieved him to the shore, I admired his magnificent colors and then released him. After trying to catch my breath through the excitement, that voice that I spoke about earlier came back to me and said, “I told you so”.
Sometimes I just need to listen, believe and trust in the unknown.
Closing Prayer: Lord, as a baptized Christian, I have been born of the Spirit. Help me to comprehend the workings of the Spirit in my soul so that I can more deeply appreciate the graces and gifts I have been given.
Action of the Day: I will read something illuminating about the Holy Spirit.
HEY! It was a Trophy Trout to me! LOL