2nd Week of Easter
1st Reading: Acts 4:23-31
As soon as Peter and John were set free, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and elders had said to them.
When they heard it, they raised their voices as one and called upon God, “Sovereign Lord, maker of heaven and earth, of the sea and everything in them, you have put these words in the mouth of David, our father and your servant, through the Holy Spirit: Why did the pagan nations rage and the people conspire in folly? The kings of the earth were aligned and the princes gathered together against the Lord and against his Messiah.
For indeed in this very city Herod with Pontius Pilate, and the pagans together with the people of Israel conspired against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. Thus, indeed, they brought about whatever your powerful will had decided from all time would happen. But now, Lord, see their threats against us and enable your servants to speak your word with all boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and to work signs and wonders through the Name of Jesus your holy servant.”
When they had prayed, the place where they were gathered together shook, and they were all filled with Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God boldly.
Gospel: John 3:1-8
Among the Pharisees there was a ruler of the Jews named Nicodemus. He came to Jesus by night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you have come from God to teach us, for no one can perform miraculous signs like yours unless God is with him.”
Jesus replied, “Truly, I say to you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again from above.”
Nicodemus said, “How can there be rebirth for a grown man? Who could go back to his mother’s womb and be born again?” Jesus replied, “Truly, I say to you: No one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Because of this, don’t be surprised when I say: ‘You must be born again from above.’
“The wind blows where it pleases and you hear its sound, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going. It is like that with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
Julian of Norwich comments: “When our soul is breathed into our body, bringing our senses to life, then mercy and grace immediately begin to work, caring for us, and protecting us with pity and love. At the same time the Holy spirit takes our faith and in it forms the hope that when we have grown and become mature in the Holy Spirit, we shall return to our essential being above; to the powerful goodness of Christ. In this way, I understood that our physical nature is grounded in God’s nature, mercy, and grace—a grounding which enables us to receive gifts that lead us on to eternal life. I saw with absolute certainty that our being is in God. What is more, I saw that God is in our physical nature, too. From the beginning of time God ordained that the moment we became physical beings, at that same moment we would become the city of God.”
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