April 20, 2020 – Monday of the Second Week of Easter
Click ere for the readings (http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/042020.cfm)
“Have you been born again?,” a Born Again Pastor asked me. Like Nicodemus, I was also stunned by the question. Then, he continued asking me, “Do you accept Jesus as your personal savior?” I said, “Yes.” And then, he told me, “You are now Born Again.” Immediately, he took out his notebook and pen and asked me to write my name on it and the date of the day and date of my birth. And so I did.
And I saw in his notebook other names of people with their details. He explained to me that those were the list of people he baptized just like me, a baptized Born Again by him.
That encounter with a Born Again Pastor, reminds me of the very Gospel we have today. Jesus with his encounter with Nicodemus, a Pharisee said, “Unless one is born from above, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.” Yet, Nicodemus also responded, “How can a man once grown old be born again? He cannot reenter his mother’s womb and be born again, can he?”
Nicodemus was referring for a physical rebirth of a person. However, Jesus speaks of a spiritual rebirth of a person. Consequently, Jesus invites Nicodemus to be born of the Spirit.
Each of us who had been baptized with water and the Spirit, is already “born again.” This is what Jesus speaks to us today. During the Easter Vigil and Mass on Easter Sunday, we were asked to light our candle and renew our baptismal promises. That rite was an invitation for us to be reminded of what we have received in our baptism when we were children, for those who were baptized as babies, and those who were baptized as adults too. Moreover, that rite also points to who we are, our very being, and that is, that we are all Children of God.
Indeed, through our baptism we were born again and called to live our life filled with the Spirit of God. However, as we have lived our life and carry out our identity as Children of God, we might have not felt the Spirit within us perhaps because we have become “lukewarm” and indifferent, have taken things for granted, have become selfish by advancing our personal desires and wants, or have succumbed to what is only beneficial, easy and comfortable for us at the expense of others. These attitudes are signs that we are not allowing God to fill our hearts with the Spirit.
To be truly born of the Spirit is not just a mere ritual but rather a way of life. In today’s language, we call it, “Lifestyle.” Thus, it means that it is not just a one-time event but an everyday commitment to live a life filled with the Holy Spirit.
This is now the invitation for us today. Jesus calls us to re-examine our life on how we have lived our Christian life and carry out our commitment to God. We are called to identify the obstacles that prevent the flow of the Spirit in our life. We may want to start by recognizing the hurts, the pains, the traumas, even fears and doubts, our preconceptions, biases, attitudes and sins that hold us back from allowing the Spirit to inspire us, to mold us and to renew us.
Hopefully, this may lead us to step forward by consciously making a faith-commitment to the Risen Jesus, who breathes into us the Holy Spirit. May it inspire us to develop a lifestyle that consciously prays, discerns the invitations of God and shows true concern to our brothers and sister.
May this lifestyle be more active and inspiring especially in these difficult times brought by the pandemic Corona Virus. As we allow the Spirit to fill our hearts in this Easter Season, let us also fill with our kindness and generosity those who are most in need and vulnerable in this time of great crisis. With this, we are truly born again with Spirit. Hinaut pa.
Jom Baring, CSsR