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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.”
In today’s first reading, we learn how the early Christians lived: united, with one heart and mind; openly and generously sharing their possessions with one another. In fact, one Christian was so moved by all of this sharing that he sold a piece of property he owned and brought the money and put it at the feet of the Apostles (cf. Acts 4:32-37).
They lived like the Lord by sacrificing like the Lord, who was rich but became poor for our sake. Their unique testimony (actually, unique love) helped bring about the conversion of many.
Critics of the Church have often made the claim that the Vatican should sell all their treasures and use the money to give it to the poor? Well, if we for a moment disregard the obvious fact that no one in the Vatican owns the treasures of the Church (they belong to the entire people of God, living and dead), then it is estimated that the Church’s treasures would bring in approximately 6 billion US dollars, enough money to give one simple meal to every poor person in the world. As you can see, the poor of the world would receive almost nothing while the rich of the world would receive more treasures than they ever deserved.
It’s amazing how some people, who claim to be so intelligent and scientific, are believers in some of the biggest myths and lies of all time.
If what I have written is still not so clear, then imagine for a moment the First Family selling the White House to the wealthiest Americans. First of all, it doesn’t belong to them. Second, will it truly help the poor by eliminating the causes of poverty? Would the poor not remain poor and the rich only become richer and more influential?
The early followers of The Way had a really hard choice to make: either live like the world or live like the Lord. They chose the Lord.
This is not an easy choice to make, nor is it a one time deal. I don’t remember where I read this story or where I heard it, but it might very well be an Aesop fairy-tale. Anyways, the story goes something like this:
Once upon a time, there was a very wise and holy man who lived apart from others. He would spend hours and hours alone in prayer and meditation and would leave his home only when war broke out. He was respected by all because he knew how to bring peace. One day, two students came to him to honor him and to learn from him. “We want to follow you, for you have brought everlasting peace to our people,” they said. But the wise and holy man told them that peace will not come in this life for we are constantly at war. The two young students did not understand so the wise man continued. “There are two creatures that are inside of us that are fighting each other. One feeds on anger, resentment, bitterness, frustration, fear and doubts. The other feeds on mercy, forgiveness, compassion, understanding and love.” The two pupils could not believe what they were hearing. They asked the old man, “Which creature is stronger.” The wise man responded, “It depends. It depends on which one you feed the most.”
From today's Gospel passage, it's not very clear who Nicodemus is. Is he a follower or is he not? Is he a believer or is he not? His life appears to be wrapped in confusion for he lived in the shadows of others during the day, yet walked about freely with the Lord, but only in the middle of the night. He had a tough choice to make and it appears as though he never made it.
Let's decide today. We can either live in the shadows of others or we can break away and live in the light of the Lord. Which will it be?
Resolution: I will follow the Lord openly, honestly, and bravely.