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.”
Reflection: “The wind blows where it wills” and it shifts anywhere at any time without our knowledge. This reminds me of when I am fly fishing in the rivers of the Sierras. Most fishermen hate the high winds, and they hate fishing in them. It’s because their line gets blown everywhere when they are in a casting motion except the spot where they want it to land. But we (the fishermen) have to learn to use this nuisance to our advantage. We have to be able to accept the change and adapt to the current conditions. We (the fishermen) certainly do that when the water is murky; or too fast; or too cold; or too hot. So why wouldn’t we adapt in the high winds?
The word change normally refers to new beginnings. But the mystery of transformation more often happens not when something new begins, but when something old falls apart. The pain of something old falling apart invites the soul to listen at a deeper level, and sometimes forces the soul to go to a new place. We are survivors and if we are willing or open to change then and ONLY then we will find a new way. The question is will it be the right way? Well, the real answer is that your first choice may be the wrong way but you adapt, change again, and learn from your previous decision. Isn’t that how life is?
We will normally do anything to keep the old thing from falling apart because it is something we know or something we are used to or something we are comfortable with. For example, using my fishing story. If you cast your line into the wind; your line will get blown right back at you. If you are open to change and make a readjustment by casting with the wind to your back, then your cast goes right where you want it with little effort.
Yet this is when we need patience and guidance, and the freedom to let go instead of tightening our controls and convictions. Perhaps Jesus is describing just this phenomenon when he says, “It is a narrow gate and a hard road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:14).
Change happens, but transformation is always a process of letting go, living in the confusing, shadowy space for a while. We can be born again and again and again by just being open to what God is putting in front of us and accepting it by readjusting our life to change and to a new beginning.
Action of the Day: Take a few moments in your day and try to figure out where the wind is blowing in your life. And determine which way you should be casting your line.