“Amen, Amen, I say to you, unless you are born from above, you cannot see the Kingdom of God” (John 3:3).
Two weeks after Easter Sunday, the Easter Season will continue for a total of 50 days to focus our attention on the mysteries of Jesus' death and resurrection.
This extended period is particularly important for the newly baptized, who now engage in “mystagogia,” a guided meditation on the scriptures intended to deepen their understanding of the implications of their baptism. By going down into the water they have died with Christ; by coming up out of the waters, they have risen with Christ.
This formation in the death and resurrection of Jesus is the pattern of daily activity called the Paschal Mystery, the central spirituality of every Christian. It is our path to becoming other Christs.
The daily readings return us to the early chapters of John’s Gospel when the great and learned Pharisee Nicodemus came under cover of darkness to meet with Jesus. He was indeed in the dark because, despite his deep theological training, he had not yet grasped the Spirit of Jesus’ teaching. He was still thinking in earthly terms.
Jesus describes the higher understanding needed to see God’s revelation as being “born again.” Nicodemus takes this literally. He will not gain the insight to grasp who Jesus really is until the end of John’s Gospel when he reads the scriptures with new eyes in the light of the events of Easter and suddenly realize that the Psalms and prophecies were fulfilled in Jesus’s suffering and death on the cross. He will come to Easter faith when the Spirit enters his mind like the winds of Pentecost.
Now is the season for all of us to pray for this rebirth in water and the Spirit that is our baptismal formation. Jesus himself is our teacher and companion, inviting us each day to see the world and our daily activities as having a whole other dimension. Every encounter, every experience becomes a teachable moment and a threshold into the Kingdom of God.
Like a newborn, expect new eyes that see Jesus everywhere, new ears open to his voice explaining things to us. Nothing is insignificant to our gradual transformation into his intimate disciples, already living the risen life he won for us at Easter.