Monday, April 8, 2013

April 9, 2013

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Tuesday of the Second Week of Easter 
Lectionary: 268

Reading 1ACTS 4:32-37

The community of believers was of one heart and mind,
and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own,
but they had everything in common.
With great power the Apostles bore witness
to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus,
and great favor was accorded them all.
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.

Thus Joseph, also named by the Apostles Barnabas
(which is translated A son of encouragement”),
a Levite, a Cypriot by birth,
sold a piece of property that he owned,
then brought the money and put it at the feet of the Apostles.
We get a glimpse of life during the time of the Apostles after the Resurrection and Pentecost.  The Christians are living in a sort of communal life.  Communal in the sense that they share all property together.  An example is set forth of St. Barnabus, one of the more influential Apostles in the book of Acts and a companion of St. Paul.  He sold some property and gave the proceeds to the Apostles.   
In the next chapter, we will see what happens to another chap, Ananias, and his wife, when they try to swindle the Apostles.  Holding back some of the monies they promised. Read more.

Responsorial PsalmPS 93:1AB, 1CD-2, 5

R. (1a) The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
R. Alleluia.
The LORD is king, in splendor robed;
robed is the LORD and girt about with strength.
R. The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
R. Alleluia.
And he has made the world firm,
not to be moved.
Your throne stands firm from of old;
from everlasting you are, O LORD.
R. The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
R. Alleluia.
Your decrees are worthy of trust indeed:
holiness befits your house,
O LORD, for length of days.
R. The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
R. Alleluia.
Jesus Christ is King of Kings and Lord of Lords: 
1 Timothy 6:14-15
King James Version (KJV)
14 That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:  15 Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;

GospelJN 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.”
In order to understand what is going on, lets go back a few verses.  Let's begin with verse 1.  
John 3
King James Version (KJV)
1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:

2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.

Nicodemus, the Teacher of Israel, was apologizing for those Pharisees who believed that Jesus produced His miracles by the help of Baal. He therefore assured Jesus that he believed that Jesus was sent by God. In other words, that Jesus is the Messiah.

However, Nicodemus is not one of Christ's chosen. Therefore Jesus speaks to him in parables:
Matthew 13:12-14King James Version (KJV)12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.
13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.
14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:

Jesus did that in order that Nicodemus be in need of the Church, which Jesus was establishing, with the Apostles as the foundation. And Nicodemus would need to go to them for understanding of His Teachings.

3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Note that Jesus did not address what Nicodemus (Nic) said. Nicodemus was speaking of Jesus and His miracles. And of the fact that Jesus was united with God.

But Jesus turned it around on Nic and said, in order for you also to accomplish the works of God and to be united to God, you must be born again. This is something which Nic should have known. For Nic was a Teacher of Israel and should have known that it takes a conversion of the heart, a new birth, in order to be united to God:
Ezekiel 18:31King James Version (KJV)31 Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?

But, perhaps because he was nervous. After all, he didn't want to be seen with Jesus and was sneaking around at night. But Nic didn't understand the reference to being born again in the Spirit.

So, Jesus said to him:
5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

Now, the reference to water is a reference to the flesh. Being born of woman. Have you ever heard of the term, "her water broke"? It happens in every human birth.

And being born of the Spirit, is a reference to God giving the man new life and a new heart. Conversion.

Jesus explains further:
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. 

But Nic is still a few steps behind. Apparently taking Jesus literally:
9 Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?

And so Jesus scolds him and tells him that He is God, who has descended from heaven in order to ascend back again.

10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?

11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.

12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?

13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.

14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:

15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

And save those who believe in Him in the process.

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