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Gospel Reflection for April 17, 2023
“Now 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, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.’ Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can a person 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, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. 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.’” (John 3:1-8 NABRE)
Whereas many other Pharisees doubted Jesus and accused Him of committing blasphemy, or of being possessed by a demon, Nicodemus clearly trusted in Jesus and had faith that He was from God. Nicodemus approached Jesus at night, most likely due to fear that the other Pharisees would reprimand him, and professed his faith in Jesus’ divine authority. Jesus explained the importance of baptism to Nicodemus, and when Nicodemus became confused, Jesus helped him to understand what He meant.
Nicodemus offers an incredible example to follow when something about our Catholic faith confuses us, or when something that is going on in our lives doesn’t make sense. We should set aside a quiet time to approach our Lord Jesus, whether it be early in the morning, in the middle of the day, or at night. We should give our full attention to Jesus, and approach Him in faith and sincerity.
We do not need to hide our thoughts and feelings from the Lord! He already knows what we’re thinking and feeling, and He wants us to communicate those things with Him. Like Nicodemus, when something troubles us, we should not hesitate to ask our Lord for understanding. There is no one better to ask than the Truth Himself!
Now, the Lord may not answer all of our questions in this life, at least not in the way we might like. But again, this shouldn’t stop us from going to the Lord and looking to Him for guidance and understanding. So, no matter what you’re confused about or troubled by, go to Jesus. Go to Him and pour out your heart. Tell Him about what confuses or worries you. Tell Him you trust Him. And like Nicodemus, listen to His response, which may only be a whisper.
Ultimately, the thing that I needed most from Christ was His rest. My first glimpse at finding an answer to arrive at it happened when I read the account of the lilies of the field in Matthew 6:25-34. It sounded like God wanted me trust Him by not worrying about anything at all. I had never heard of this before. There were other Scripture verses that supported this spiritual practice; but I was not aware of them at the time. About 12 years later I became aware of them and I tried it. After that, things were no longer the same.
For some reason, I usually find the end of the day especially when in bed, the best time to have a heart to heart with Jesus. And one time I heard myself talking to Him. I thought, "Oh my, I sound like a child!" All alone at night, I was still embarrassed. "This won't do", I thought, and I tried to speak in a more adult, intelligent way, pretty it up to impress the Lord as to how serious I was. I couldn't do it to my frustration! It actually seemed like the Lord was rather bored with my more sophisticated way. Worse I was no longer pouring out my heart which I desperately needed to do! Now I just babble on like a child. Works better for me!