Jesus teaches Nicodemus that every man must be reborn in the Spirit. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by building the Virtue of Studiousness so he can be guided by the Holy Spirit to read Sacred Scripture daily and by seeking the Gifts of the Holy Spirit from the Holy Spirit so he can be victorious in the Spiritual Combat.
2nd Week of Easter – Monday – Jn 3:1-8
After turning a huge amount of water into wine at the Wedding at Cana, Jesus travels to Jerusalem for the first Passover of His public ministry, and violently clears the massive Temple area of its shameful desecration by money-changers and merchants. Jesus’ clearing of the Temple and other miraculous acts impress Nicodemus, a member of the ruling Jewish council, the Sanhedrin. Nicodemus, afraid of being persecuted by the others on the Sanhedrin who already hate Jesus, stealthily approaches Jesus at night; Nicodemus is spiritually in the dark, not realizing Jesus is the Light of the World. Later, Nicodemus will defend Jesus against the murderous schemes of the Sanhedrin (Jn 7:30) and assist in the burial of Jesus (Jn 19:39).
Not realizing Jesus is the Son of God, Nicodemus takes the first steps of faith by acknowledging Jesus is a holy man who does wondrous “signs.” Jesus emphatically responds (“Truly, truly..”), mysteriously revealing that men must be, “born anew” (more accurately, “from above”) to see “the Kingdom of God.” Nicodemus, demonstrating his ignorance, takes Jesus literally, absurdly thinking Jesus is speaking about a second physical birth.
In a rebuke to Nicodemus, Jesus is again emphatic (“Truly, truly”), but seeks to help Nicodemus by adding men must be “born of water and spirit”; “water” is a reference to the Sacrament of Baptism (after this, Jesus will go directly to the Jordan River to endorse baptism) and “Spirit” refers to the Holy Spirit (which Jesus earlier referred to as being “born from above”). Jesus explains in simple terms; what is born of the “flesh” (worldly) is different than what is born of the “Spirit” (from Heaven). Since Nicodemus is still bewildered, Jesus explains with a brilliant but simple analogy, showing that men don’t understand the source of the wind (can also translated as “Spirit”) and yet they accept the reality (hear) of the wind; so too is the Spirit a reality men must accept if they wish to be reborn.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Be awed by Jesus, the Divine Priest, as He confirms that the Sacrament of Baptism is an absolute requirement for those who wish to enter His Kingdom of Heaven, and, as a Person of the Trinity, describes the real supernatural change (born again in Spirit) which occurs for those who are baptized.
Be guided by the Spirit and read Sacred Scripture daily
Realize: Like Nicodemus’ absurd literalism (“how can a man enter his mother’s womb”), some men dangerously attempt to read Scripture only literally and without the sure guidance of Christ’s Holy Catholic Church.
Believe: Reflect upon How the Holy Spirit Interprets Scripture (CCC 109-119).
Pray: Almighty Father, help me grow in the Virtue of Studiousness (a part of Temperance) so I build a life-long daily discipline of reading Scripture, guided by the Holy Spirit through Your Holy Catholic Church, and grow in holiness.
Prepare for and pursue the Gifts of the Holy Spirit
Realize: Many Catholic men forget that the Holy Spirit resides in their souls and fail to request the powerful Gifts of the Spirit, Gifts which are necessary for a man to resist Satan and sin and grow in holiness and closer to God; the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit are necessary for salvation.
Believe: Recall, you have been Given the Holy Spirit (CCC 694, 1215, 1226, 1238, 1262-1274, 1302-1305).
Pray: Holy Spirit, help me prepare to accept and receive Your Seven Gifts of the Spirit (Fear of the Lord, Piety, Knowledge, Fortitude, Counsel, Understanding and Wisdom) so that I can be victorious in my daily Spiritual Combat against Satan and sin.