Tuesday, April 5 ~ Second Week in the Season of Easter
Saint Vincent Ferrer, Priest
Holy Gospel: John 3:7b-15 Jesus said to Nicodemus: “‘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.” Nicodemus answered and said to him, ‘How can this happen?” Jesus answered and said to him, “You are the teacher of Israel and you do not understand this? Amen, amen, I say to you, we speak of what we know and we testify to what we have seen, but you people do not accept our testimony. If I tell you about earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has gone up to heaven except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”
Meditation: Jesus spoke to Nicodemus of the power of his cross and a “new birth in the Spirit.” The Hebrew word for “spirit” means both “wind” and “breath.” Jesus said to Nicodemus: “You can hear, feel, and see the effects of the wind, but you do not know where it comes from. In like manner, you can see the effects of the Holy Spirit in the lives of those the Spirit touches.” Jesus was explaining to Nicodemus the necessity of the crucifixion and resurrection by analogy with Moses and the bronze serpent in the desert. When the people of Israel were afflicted with serpents in the wilderness because of their sin, God instructed Moses: “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live” (Book of Numbers 21:8).
Prayer: O God, who raised up the Priest Saint Vincent Ferrer to minister by the preaching of the Gospel, grant, we pray, that, when the Judge comes, whom Saint Vincent proclaimed on earth, we may be among those blessed to behold him reigning in heaven. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Contemplation: The bronze serpent points to the cross of Christ which defeats sin and death and obtains everlasting life for those who believe. The result of Jesus “being lifted up on the cross” and his rising and exaltation to the Father’s right hand in heaven, is our “new birth in the Spirit” and adoption as sons and daughters of God. God not only redeems us, but he fills us with his own divine life and power that we might share in his glory. Jesus gives us the Holy Spirit that we may have power to be his witnesses and to spread and defend the gospel by word and action, and to never be ashamed of the Cross of Christ. The Holy Spirit gives us his seven-fold gifts of wisdom and understanding, right judgment and courage, knowledge and reverence for God and his ways, and a holy fear in God’s presence (ref. Isaiah 11) that we may live for God and serve him in the power of his strength.