Daily Readings



Readings of Today: 2017-04-24

2nd Week of Easter - Monday

FIRST READING
Acts 4:23-31

After their release Peter and John went back to their own people and reported what the chief priests and elders had told them. And when they heard it, they raised their voices to God with one accord and said, “Sovereign Lord, maker of heaven and earth and the sea and all that is in them, you said by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of our father David, your servant:

Why did the Gentiles rage and the peoples entertain folly? The kings of the earth took their stand and the princes gathered together against the Lord and against his anointed.

Indeed they gathered in this city against your holy servant Jesus whom you anointed, Herod and Pontius Pilate, together with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do what your hand and your will had long ago planned to take place. And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and enable your servants to speak your word with all boldness, as you stretch forth your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” As they prayed, the place where they were gathered shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.


RESPONSORIAL PSALM
Psalm 2:1-3, 4-7a, 7b-9

R. Blessed are all who take refuge in the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.


Why do the nations rage and the peoples utter folly? The kings of the earth rise up, and the princes conspire together against the LORD and against his anointed: “Let us break their fetters and cast their bonds from us!”

R. Blessed are all who take refuge in the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.


He who is throned in heaven laughs; the LORD derides them. Then in anger he speaks to them; he terrifies them in his wrath: “I myself have set up my king on Zion, my holy mountain.” I will proclaim the decree of the LORD.

R. Blessed are all who take refuge in the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.


The LORD said to me, “You are my Son; this day I have begotten you. Ask of me and I will give you the nations for an inheritance and the ends of the earth for your possession. You shall rule them with an iron rod; you shall shatter them like an earthen dish.”

R. Blessed are all who take refuge in the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.


ALLELUIA
Colossians 3:1

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.


GOSPEL
John 3:1-8

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, 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? Surely he cannot reenter his mother’s womb and be born again, can he?” Jesus answered, “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. 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.”


Meditation: Nicodemus was a closet disciple. He seeks Jesus out, though surreptitiously in the dead of the night. Why?  Nicodemus is a "leader of the Jews", "a teacher of Israel" (3:10), and a member of the religious party most opposed to the teaching of Jesus. In fact, in John 12, the summary statement says that it was Nicodemus' own group, the Pharisees, which intimidated the authorities against confessing Jesus. Jesus does not directly answer Nicodemus' question.  Instead he engages him in a seemingly unrelated topic of conversation. Jesus says that rebirth is necessary to enter the kingdom of God. Of course, Nicodemus the Pharisee has already found religion, so he thinks that Jesus must be referring to physical rebirth. No, Jesus responds, someone who is reborn spiritually knows the experience as surely as one who has been refreshed by an invisible breeze. How can a respected rabbi among the Jews not know this (3:10)? And that is precisely the point. Nicodemus is the first of what we might loosely call the official clergy with whom Jesus has personal engagement. In John, chapter 7, the Gospel portrays Nicodemus as a defender of Jesus' right to a fair trial (7:-51); in chapter 19, Nicodemus helps to bury Jesus with honor.  Nicodemus did not understand the new birth which Jesus spoke of until the resurrection.  What does it mean to be reborn? The  new birth Jesus speaks of is a spiritual birth to new life and relationship with God as his sons and daughters.  This new birth  is made possible when one is baptized into Christ and receives the gift of the Holy Spirit.  God wants to renew all his people in the gift of new life in his Holy Spirit.  This new life brings us into God's kingdom or heavenly rule.  What is God's kingdom? God's kingdom is that  society in which God's will is done on earth as it is in heaven. Do you pray for God's will to be done? To be reborn is to enter that society in which God is honored and obeyed, to live as his son or daughter, and to enter into possession of that  life which comes from God himself, a never-ending life of love, peace, joy, and freedom from sin and the fear of death.  Do you know the freedom and joy of new life in Christ?


See you tomorrow!