Jesus speaks to Nicodemus of a new birth in the Spirit. “You must be born from above.” Nicodemus is at a loss. He can not comprehend and Jesus questions him, “You are the teacher of Israel and you do not understand this?”
Nicodemus was a good man. He was impressed with Jesus, his teachings and his great works. He was attracted by Jesus because he realized there was something different and profound about him. Jesus taught with authority and wisdom and Nicodemus was a seeker of God. He wanted to know more about Jesus. Seeking truth, he was attracted by Jesus’ message. Truth comes slowly and Nicodemus didn’t give up. Over the course of time he continued to listen and to observe Jesus. He struggled with his decision.
It was the crucifixion of Jesus that made the difference. Witnessing that, Nicodemus found courage! He took Jesus’ body and prepared it to be buried. Never mind the consequences. He believed!
Like Nicodemus, so many of us can be slow to understand Jesus, slow to wholeheartedly embrace his teachings and slow to live our faith with courage and conviction. We want to believe, we struggle to believe, we know we can be better and do better, we have doubts and moments of weakness, we sin.
Just as it took Nicodemus time to understand, it takes time for us to understand. And again, like Nicodemus it is when we grasp the full significance of the Cross of Christ that our lives will change. It is when we understand, with conviction, the love, patience and forgiveness of the Cross that we will realize that whatever happens in our lives makes sense when we bring it before the Cross of Christ.
May the Passion of Jesus Christ be always in our hearts!
- Fr. Stephen Haslach, C.P.