Tuesday of the Second Week of Easter
(Acts 4:32-37; John 3:7b-15)
Everyone who has heard the four gospels a few times knows that John is different from Matthew, Mark, and Luke. One significant difference is that in John’s gospel Jesus does not teach much with parables. There are no long pedagogic stories in John like the “Good Samaritan” in Luke or the “Vineyard Owner” in Mark. Rather John is the master of another teaching technique that is not commonly found in the others. In John Jesus teaches by means of extended dialogues with different characters such as Nicodemus in today’s gospel.
Nicodemus has come to Jesus “at night,” which is symbolic for being unenlightened. Perhaps he is impressed with Jesus like those in the first reading who witness the Jerusalem Christian community holding everything in common. In any case Jesus tells Nicodemus about the power behind such generous sharing. It is this way “with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” When Nicodemus asks about the source of the Spirit, Jesus replies a bit cryptically but nevertheless understandably to the Christian readers of the gospel. The source of the Spirit is Jesus, the Son of Man, being “lifted up” on the cross.
Believers’ generosity has drawn many non-believers and lukewarm believers to Christ over the century. We should not be afraid to contribute to this effort. This does not mean that we make public displays of our giving. But it moves us to treat all people better than fairly, showing particular care for the poor and unemployed.