Monday of the Second Week of Easter
(Acts 4:23-31; John 3:1-8)
Although she has an Irish name, Lisa Fitzgerald grew up in a Jewish household. But she considered herself an atheist through law school at Harvard. In the last couple of years, however, Ms. Fitzgerald began to read the works of Simone Weil, a French writer who died during World War II. Weil, who also had Jewish roots, came closer to Christ as she began to pray. One early morning Fitzgerald woke from sleep with a lot of energy. She decided to run in a park. While running, she was overcome with a need for prayer. She crossed herself repeatedly, found a rosary site on her telephone, and began to recite it. Later she joined the RCIA and was scheduled for Baptism this Easter.
Lisa Fitzgerald’s story sheds light on what Jesus means in today’s gospel. He tells Nicodemus that one has to be born again to “see the Kingdom of God.” Being born again is more than a washing with Baptismal waters. It is also viewing life in a whole new way. Life is not a playground where one seeks different kinds of pleasure. Nor is it a project to earn, buy, and consume to achieve happiness. When one avails herself to God in Baptism, she realizes that life is a calling to know and love God. Answering this call, she finds happiness in following God’s will. This heavenly bliss will endure even death itself.
Most Catholics today are baptized as infants. We grow up learning about God through parents and religion teachers. As Jesus indicates in the gospel, we come to know Him slowly, almost imperceptibly. Doing it right, however, we realize that God loves us and will give us happiness. Still, we must respond to God with love.