The Word Today: May 2, 2011

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.

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.”

REFLECTION

The Catholic Church teaches that we were born anew when we were baptized as infants. Our baptism was in compliance with the teaching of Jesus that we must be born anew so that we may be able to enter the Kingdom of God. This is also in compliance with the instructions of Jesus to his disciples when he said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”

We Catholics do not believe that we have to be older, or even attain the age of reason, before we may be baptized. We believe that it is not our intellect or our attainment of the age of reason that makes the baptism effective. Our being born anew is by the grace of God bestowed upon us when the priest baptizes us “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

The intellect is not always the best guide when it comes to our relationship with God. Sometimes the intellect can even mislead us into rejecting the revealed truths in the Gospel of Christ. We often need guidance in our discernment process, and it is the Holy Spirit who leads us to make the correct decision. This is why the Church, in the exercise of its Magisterium, strives to keep our faith in the teachings of Christ constant and on solid ground as handed down to us from the time of Jesus up to the present based on the Holy Bible and the accepted traditions of our Church.

 

 

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