Monday of the Second Week of Easter
(Acts 4:23-31; John 3:1-8)
A Jewish man had, as a boy, been taken from his parents and imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp. He survived only because a German soldier reached out to him in kindness. He now says that he made a decision not to be bitter about the experience but would always return to them the kindness he had received. Well into old age the man’s countenance reflects his decisions. He beams with peace. Whether or not the man was ever baptized, he has been born of the Spirit of which Jesus speaks in today’s gospel.
Jesus is explaining to Nicodemus that people must not follow the ways of the world. Those ways dictate that people are to “look out for number one”; “get even with those who wrong you”; and a hundred other maxims of the ever dominant ego. In contrast Jesus teaches that people have to love one another and to forgive those who persecute them. His message may be difficult for those who have undergone significant hardship. But it leads to a life of everlasting peace for all.
The season of Lent should have chastened us, and now Easter graces have been poured out on us. We can commit ourselves to Jesus Christ. Models like the Holocaust survivor exist. More than ever it is time for us to live in the Spirit.