Monday of the Second Week of Easter
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There was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. He came to Jesus at night and said to him, “Rabbit, 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 him, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless one is born from above, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.”
As Christians, we are blessed to have St. John’s written account of a private conversation the Lord had with a Pharisee. In some ways, it resembles the conversations Christians often have with skeptics.
Beyond the obvious. Jesus said to Nicodemus, “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?”
I’m not sure I would have asked that question. I find it a bit childish. But then again, I find many questions from skeptics to be childish. For example, the hilarious comparison between God and, say, Batman; or Jesus and Zeus; or the Trinity with pagan deities. The comparisons are superficial at their best and insulting at their worst.
Nicodemus’ mind is no different than that of the contemporary skeptic. His mind has settled on the obvious, nothing less – because there is nothing less than the obvious – and nothing more – as if there were nothing more to something than what enters the eye.
Recently, I was in the company of a woman who had a dog on her lap. I observed how she struggled to get her dog’s attention and to get it to do what she wanted it to do. At a certain moment, I said to her: “I find it amazing – intriguing – how humans cannot have an in-depth conversation with any creature other than themselves.” The woman told me, “Well, the reason for that is pretty obvious. It’s because they do not have highly developed vocal cords.”
I just looked at her. She missed the point, entirely.
A while back, while studying physics, I was amazed at the possibility of life existing on other planets. I asked the professor why, if aliens existed, they had to exist so far away from us? He said, “Well, it’s because it’s hard for a planet to meet all the necessary conditions for intelligent life to exist.”
I just looked at him. He missed the point, entirely.
So what is the point? Go deeper. Don’t be content with the mechanics of things; that is, the superficial and obvious, but rather cast your net into the deeper realms of existence and see what you will find.
“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.”
Our Lord was constantly casting His net into ever deeper waters when He told his disciples and followers to “love your enemies and do good to those who persecute you” (cf. Mt 5:33). “Forgive your brother seven times seventy-times” (cf. Mt. 18:22). “Ask and you shall receive. Seek and you shall find. Knock and the door shall be opened.” (cf. Mt 7:7).
What surfaced was unimaginable? Fishers of men!
Let us ask our Lord on this solemn day to fish us out of shallow waters and throw us into the depths of His most sacred heart and mind – a heart of unimaginable beauty and a mind of incredible ingenuity. (0)