It’s incredible in Washington this weekend. Beautiful early morning, and it’ll reach 70 degrees today and nearly as high tomorrow. It’s good to still be so early in the new year, and to make time for being with good people and doing good things. I headed to Arlington this morning for Borromeo Brothers at St. Charles in Clarendon.
We read John 3:1-21 today, which I’ve included below. Fr. Don, the pastor at St. Charles, visited with us this morning before Mass and gave a talk on the sacraments as “efficacious signs”—that the sacraments, starting with baptism, confer the grace they signify.
How difficult it can be to believe. But the same mystery is at the heart of the most everyday things of life and we do not wonder at what we witness: “The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes…” If we start from a posture of gratitude, it’s not so difficult to believe what Christ proposes—and to recognize the limited nature of our own will and power.
Nicodemus Visits Jesus
Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do, unless God is with him.”
Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born anew.’ The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with every one who is born of the Spirit.”
Nicodemus said to him, “How can this be?” Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand this? Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen; but you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven but he who descended from heaven, the Son of man. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.”
For God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. He who believes in him is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God.
And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does what is true comes to the light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God.