Tuesday of the 2nd Week of Easter

John 3:7-15

Born of the Spirit

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES:

Throughout history thinkers and philosophers have drawn their plans and painted their dreams of the ideal human community or society. The best known is St. Thomas More’s “Utopia.” But as its name indicates, it is “no place,” it is nowhere.

The Acts of Apostles describes the conditions of the first community in Jerusalem, composed of the first Christians, living the risen life in the Lord’s spirit. St. Luke portrays it in golden terms, in ideal tones.

Using the criteria generally employed, let us examine the community in Jerusalem. Economically, “no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own but they had everything in common.” Furthermore, “there was no needy person among them for those who owned property or houses would sell them, bring the proceeds of the sale, and put them at the feet of the apostles and they were distributed to each according to need.”

Their social relationships are described in idyllic tones: “The community of believers was of one heart and mind.”

And authority was exercised by the apostles: “With great power the apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus and great favor was accorded them all.”

The Acts continues with narratives which show that the ideal conditions were often more idealistic than realistic. Nonetheless, God’s model has been delineated. Every Christian community, since then, has to measure up to the ideals presented in the Acts. (Fr. Willy Villegas, SVD Bible Diary 2002)

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Our SVD House in Berlin is located near the Olympic Stadium, where the Olympic Games in 1936 and the Final Game of the World Cup last year were held. Every time there is a football game, thousands of people from all walks of life come to watch the game. The trains are full. Cars from various places are parked around our vicinity. People sing, shout and cheer to encourage their team. The whole stadium seems bursting with energy and passion! When the wind blows to the direction of the house, we could even hear the cheering of people.

The “wind” in the gospel today has a name: the Spirit. The Greek pneuma and the Hebrew ruach, translations of spirit, refer both to wind and spirit. Nicodimus, like many ordinary people, could hardly understand the message of Jesus when he said, “You must be born from above.” Jesus was referring here to the transforming and renewing power of the Spirit, like a storm wind full of power and dynamism. He mentioned in the gospel His testimony and His mission, namely, to suffer, die on the cross and rise again. As Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so Christ will rise from the dead in order to give life, power and confidence to all who believe in Him.

The effects of the spirit should also be visible in every person who is baptized with the life-changing Spirit. Like football fans, what am I enthusiastic about? Do people see in me this dynamic Spirit? Am I inspired in my daily life? Is the Spirit of the risen Christ still a source of inspiration? Does my faith still a source of inspiration? Does my faith still burn within me in the same way football fans cheer for their team? (Fr. Adonis Narcelles, SVD Bible Diary 2007)

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April 5, 2016 Tuesday

Nicodemus was a different kind of Pharisee. He was ready to accept his ignorance and was sincere in his pursuit of the truth. Thus Jesus patiently taught him the difference between spiritual birth and physical birth.

Physical birth is a human process through which everyone enters this world. Spiritual birth is of the Spirit. Born of water and the Spirit refers to Baptism which everyone needs to enter the kingdom of God. Here, Jesus is emphasizing that Baptism is important for our entry into heaven. That is the reason why the baptism of children and of those who desire it should not be deferred because of the importance of being born in the Spirit. God dwelling in us.

How many of us have the simplicity to ask for the right answer or seek counseling when we are confronted with doubts or questions about the faith? Let us learn to be humble and simple to accept our lack of knowledge. Let us turn to the Holy Spirit who will guide us. In times of difficulties, the Holy Spirit is always ready to help. Let us pray to him always. (Sr. Isabel Angela, SSpS Arnold Janssen Sprituality Center, Quezon City Bible Diary 2016)

rveritas-asia.org/index.php/daily-reflection/572-april-5-2016-tuesday

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Historically today is the feast of St. Mary of Clophas, Mother of St. James the Less and Joseph, wife of Cleophas (or Clopas or Alpheus). She was one of the “Three Marys” who served Jesus and was present at the Crucifixion , and accompanied Mary Magdalene to the tomb of Christ. Tradition reports that she went to Spain as a missionary. Mary reportedly died at Ciudad Rodrigo. Another tradition states that she went to France with St. Lazarus and his sisters.

Also St. Gaucherius’ feast is historically celebrated today. He was also known as Walter, abbot-founder and friend of St. Stephen of Grandmont. He founded St. John’s Monastery at Aureilfor and a convent for women.

St. Mary of Clophas
“And there were standing by the cross of Jesus His mother and His mother’s sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen.” How should we understand “His mother’s sister,” literally, as in having the same parents, or in the same sense that Jesus’s “brothers” are to be understood as close relatives?

The short answer is that Mary of Cleophas is probably the Blessed Virgin’s sister-in-law. Mary of Cleophas may have had a previous husband named Alpheus, or this Alpheus may have been Cleophas. The Blessed Virgin Mary, of course, only had one husband (Joseph) and remained a virgin. The long answer may be found.

St. Gaucherius
Born in Meulan-sur-Seine to the northwest of Paris, he received a classical education and became a priest. However he felt a deep longing for solitude and a life more radically centered on God. He thereupon devoted his life God as a hermit and began with his friend, Germond, to reside in the area of Limoges. Alone and forgotten by the world, Gaucherius and Germond grew in holiness. Their example attracted others who built hermitages near to theirs. Finally Gaucherius decided to build a monastery at Aureil and to establish two communities, one for men, the other for women, both under the rule of St. Augustine. The passage of an eremitical settlement into the canonical life was one of the principal ways through which the canons regular grew in the 11th and 12th Century. The community of Aureil is typical of these kinds of Ordo Novus canons regular. Thereafter he lived with his companions, being for all a model of sanctity. His companions and disciples include St. Lambert of Angouleme and St. Faucherus as well as the founder of Grandmont monastery, St. Stephen Muret. He died 80 years old in 1140 and was canonized in 1194.

Excerted from the Canons Regular of St. Augustine

catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/calendar/day.cfm?date=2013-04-09

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My Reflection for Tuesday April 29 Memorial of Saint Catherine of Siena, Virgin and Doctor of the Church John 3:7-15 – Reflection: What does our firm faith in Jesus gives us? It gives us the courage to face the many challenges of our lives. It gives us the confidence that after our pilgrimage in this world is over we would now be having our eternal life with Jesus in heaven.

Faith is a gift that Jesus freely gives to each and everyone of us. However, even if it’s a gift we must also ask for it. For example if children want something from their parents they would ask for it from them. And once the parents realize that what their children are asking is reasonable then they would give it to them with love.

The same is true with faith; it’s a gift that we must ask Jesus to give us we ask for it in humble prayer. And if we do this Jesus would never refuse us He will freely give us this gift of faith. This same faith will now give us the confidence to always look-up and pray to Jesus on the cross.

In our gospel Jesus said to Nicodemus: ‘You must be born from above. Perhaps Jesus is asking Nicodemus to have more faith in Him and not to have faith on himself and on this world. Perhaps, this is also what Jesus is asking from us today. We must also be born from above and never be born from this world. We must have our faith in Him and not have our faith in this world. (Marino J. Dasmarinas)

mjdasma.blogspot.com/2014/04/my-reflection-for-tuesday-april-29.html

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Monday, April 4, 2016

Reflection for April 5, Tuesday of the Second Week of Easter; John 3:7b-15

Reflection: Who is Nicodemus and how does his situation relates with us?  He is a Pharisee, a secret faithful follower of Jesus; He visited Jesus during night time (John 3:1–21). Nicodemus also appeared after the Crucifixion of Jesus to provide the embalming ingredients for the body of Jesus. He also assisted Joseph of Arimathea in preparing the body of Jesus (John 19:39–42).

Like Nicodemus we too should become a faithful follower of Jesus. A follower who doesn’t keep any secrets. A true follower in words and in deeds and a follower who will stay with Jesus no matter how strong the temptation to betray him.

We should aspire to become a modern day Nicodemus who will silently support Jesus. Who will silently  work for Jesus and who will do things for Jesus even outside of the glare of lights. This is the challenge before us who are following Jesus.

But are we really His true followers? Or we are followers in good times only but when the testing of our faith comes we easily betray Jesus in favor of the temptation.  Are we also followers who are ever ready to leave behind everything in favor of Jesus? – Marino J. Dasmarinas

mjdasma.blogspot.com/2016/04/reflection-for-april-5-tuesday-of.html

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NO COINCIDENCES: “The wind blows where it wills… you do not know where it comes from or where it goes.” — John 3:8

My friend’s house was about to be foreclosed. “Let’s see who the bank’s officers are,” he said, and then proceeded to google. The bank president’s surname sounded familiar. A call to a distant relative revealed surprise no. 1: His relative is a sister-in-law of the bank president.

He also approached an uncle, who was a banker, for advice. A week later, surprise no. 2 came: The bank’s acquired assets manager was his uncle’s subordinate at a former job. Both promised to help. Meanwhile, my friend submitted an offer to redeem his house. And then silence. For two years, my friend tried to do everything possible to recover financially.

January 2013 came, along with a notice to vacate his house peacefully. His wife called a cousin, hoping to sell a piece of property. But before she could make the offer, surprise no. 3 came. Her cousin’s son had just moved to the same bank and was pirated by no less than its president. More help came.

Coincidences? I don’t think so. Rather, I believe it is God orchestrating everything that happens to fulfill His plan for us. And He sends the Holy Spirit to guide our every step. All we need to do is trust and believe. Tess V. Atienza (svp_tvatienza@yahoo.com)

Reflection: Are you in a tight situation? Trust that God is at work.

Lord, I believe that You are in control. Help me to trust more.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2014-04-29

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1ST READING: Unity is critical to the success of any organization. Any group that is not united will never achieve its full potential. None of us wants to waste our time when serving the Kingdom of God. Let us work together in proclaiming the Gospel, discerning what we do best and doing it, and allowing others to fill in the gaps. Acts 4:32-37

GOSPEL: The Holy Spirit’s movement in a believer’s life is likened to the wind. The air moves from a higher pressure zone to a lower pressure zone, causing a flow of air (wind). The Holy Spirit moves to where it is needed most — He knows the needs of the Church and directs the resources accordingly. Let us cooperate with the movement of the Spirit as He guides our participation in the work of the Gospel.  John 3:7-15

think:  Any group that is not united will never achieve its full potential.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2014-04-29

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THE WIND OF GOD: The resurrection of Jesus is the source of our new life in God, a gift that we celebrate in baptism. It is, as Jesus has said, our birth from above. With this birth, God gives us a first installment of His many blessings. This is the Holy Spirit.

Like the wind that is invisible, the Holy Spirit is invisible. In the same manner that we know there is wind around us, because we feel it, so too with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit manifests its presence in its fruit (cf Galatians 5:22-23) that makes us taste the beauty of life with God, and with its manifold gifts.

In my travels around Europe, I took note of how people have maximized the wind with the use of modern windmills. Perched on top of rolling hills, modern windmills utilize the movement and strength of the wind to generate power that moves machines and produces electricity. Human genius and labor have transformed the natural gift of the wind to attain progress and development.

The Holy Spirit is also a gift waiting to be welcomed and harnessed. Even with His best gift, God does not impose. God would always respect a gift He Himself has given us: our freedom. God waits that, in faith, we will respond. Fr. Domie Guzman, SSP

REFLECTION QUESTIONS: How much do you know of the Holy Spirit? Do you ever pray to Him? When? How?

Let Your Holy Spirit fall upon me, Lord, and empower me with Your gifts.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2014-04-29

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YOU MUST BE BORN ANEW – Jesus is very clear on this point: A disciple must be willing to be born anew.

For the Jewish people, the Law was the center of their lives. They have been in exile and then under occupation for centuries and the Law was the only aspect of their faith that they had been able to cling to. A lot of reflection and interpretation had been added to the Mosaic Law of the Pentateuch such that they had identified more than 600 rules or laws that a faithful Jew should live up to. This had become a great burden for the majority of the population.

When Jesus tells us that we must be born anew, He accompanies this exhortation with His gift of the Holy Spirit. All disciples must live under the grace of the Holy Spirit and it will be the Holy Spirit that will give us the strength and power to not just keep the Law but to fulfill it. The Holy Spirit will enable disciples of Jesus to cut through the “letter of the law” to identify its heart and soul, and then empower them to live it. This is the “new life” that Jesus invites us to live in Him.

I love the Doxology of the Mass at the end of the Eucharistic Prayer — “through Him, with Him and in Him” — because it tells us how to live a life of faith. We must live through, with and in Jesus Christ. This is only possible through the grace of the Holy Spirit. It is as though the life of a Christian is a super-empowered life of a Jew. The life under the Law which the Jews strive for is transformed into a life under the Holy Spirit, which ultimately fulfills the Law. It addresses it at the level of the Spirit through virtuous living according to the Beatitudes and not by strict adherence to the letter of the law.

This is the choice that we who hear the Gospel have to make. Fr. Steve Tynan, MGL

REFLECTION QUESTIONS: What sort of Christian life do you want to live? Do you want to labor under the letter of the Law or to be empowered by the grace of the Holy Spirit?

Holy Spirit, empower my life with Your grace, both in word and in deed. I want to follow Jesus and live in the victory of His cross and resurrection. Amen.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2016-04-05

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April 05, 2016

In several languages the same word (ruah in Hebrew, pneuma in Greek, spiritus in Latin, etc.) means at same time: breath, wind and human spirit (or even Holy Spirit depending on the context). Why is this? Perhaps because, as long as people are alive, that is, have a working mind (= spirit) inside them, then they also breathe, and breath is basically a small wind. Because of this commonality of meaning, Jesus liked to compare (as he does in today’s gospel reading) the Holy Spirit to a kind of wind. And that is quite logical. After all, the wind is invisible like the Holy Spirit and yet can have a tremendous effect on things and people (think of a hurricane or a typhoon). Also, the wind is unpredictable in its displacements, just as the Holy Spirit is entirely free to bring his gifts to whomever He wants. Some people, though no action of theirs, are born and raised in a thoroughly Christian environment and believe in God’s word as easily as they breathe—while others learn only harsh atheism from their environment. With the Spirit, anything is possible—even our transformation into saints!

CLARETIAN COMMUNICATIONS FOUNDATION, INC.

8 Mayumi Street, U.P. Village, Diliman, 1101 Quezon City, Philippines

Tel.: (02) 921-3984, 922-9806 • Fax: (02) 921-6205

schoolofthewordonline.com/scriptural-library/daily-gospel/english/item/3494-april-05-2016

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Monday, April 4, 2016

TUESDAY OF THE 2ND WEEK OF EASTER (YEAR C) – JUAN 3:7-15. UNSA MAN ANG HAGIT SA “PAGKATAWO OG USAB”? Sa atong pagkahimugso diha sa sabakan sa atong inahan, wala kitay nahimong pagpili ug dili nato kini kagustohan. Dili kitay nagbuot sa paagi ug sa panahon sa atong pagkatawo. Wala kita papili-a og ginikanan, igsoon, dugo, kolor, ug panagway. Pero, gipasabot ni Kristo kanato karon nga adunay “pagkatawo og usab” nga atong masinati pinaagi sa sakramento sa bunyag ug sa pagsunod kaniya. Ang pagkatawo og usab maoy bunga sa lihok sa Espiritu Santo.  Apan dinhi, kita gihataga’g kagawasan sa pagpili ug paghukom. Makapili kita sa pagdawat o sa dili pagdawat kang Kristo, sa pagsunod o sa dili pagsunod kaniya. Sa pagpili, hinumduman nato ang panultihon nga nag-ingon: “Those who walk with the Lord will always reach their destination.” Posted by Abet Uy

abetuy.blogspot.com/2016/04/tuesday-of-2nd-week-of-easter-year-c.html

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Tuesday of the Second Week of Easter

Tuesday, April 5

Acts 4: 32-37; Jn 3: 7b-15

Rise to New Life

Is there a difference between being “religious” and being “spiritual”?  If we are given a choice between the two most people may opt for “spiritual.”  Spirituality need not necessarily be visible, whereas “practicing religion” would show us many things as did the Pharisees in the Gospels.

In today’s gospel passage, Jesus seems to speak of something more akin to the current notion of spirituality and he even implies that, Nicodemus, an ostensibly religious man, has missed the boat.  Jesus makes the point that “flesh” is merely an outward manifestation of life, while spirit or breath is the very essence of life.  This might seem to be a vote for spirituality over religiosity.

This view, however, neglects a crucial line from today’s gospel.  Jesus, using the analogy of “wind,” indicates that we cannot tell whence it comes or whither it goes.  Yet, he acknowledges that we do hear the sound that wind makes and he implies that we surely do know of the wind’s effects.  In other words, a spirituality that is not made manifest is empty.

What Jesus wants is for Nicodemus to be born of the Spirit, which we know sacramentally happens through Baptism. But it’s not just about the Baptism itself, but about what it means to live in the Spirit once one has been “born again”. Jesus says, “The wind blows wherever it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes. So it is with everyone who is born in the Spirit”. The Spirit goes where He wills, not where we will. God is free! We cannot control Him. And here Nicodemus is hiding from the Pharisees, worried about being made known; hiding within his comfort zone, somewhere that he is safe, where he has control. God says, “No, Nicodemus, you must rely, depend upon, and trust in Me! Stop hiding in the darkness, come out! Rise to new life! Believe in Me, trust in Me and I will lead you. Give up the illusion of comfort and safety of your own control, and let Me keep you safe and lead you where I will!” Rev. Jose Kariamadam CMI

navchetana.com/web/homilies.php?date=2016-04-5

 

See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

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