Reflection on the Daily Readings for 4/20/09 by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Scripture: Monday of Second week of Easter. Acts 4:23-31. Psalm
2:1-3.4-6.7-9. John 3:1-8. Lectionary # 267.
“So it is with everyone begotten of the Holy Spirit.” This verse
guides our thoughts this Monday of the Second Week of Easter. It is the
last verse of the Gospel that is proclaimed today and it gives us the
thread for our reflection on the readings, perhaps, done in the mode of
lectio divina ( meditative reading and reflection on the Scriptures). The
Benedictines do this so well with their short homiletic presentations on
the readings and then allowing time for themselves to ponder over in
silence what has been proclaimed and homilized.,
That final sentence helps us to prepare for the coming of the Holy
Spirit in our lives during this Easter season. The apostles Peter and John
have been warned not to do anything in Jesus’ Name, but they gather in
prayer and ask for the gift not to obey this command which is “man made.”
They realize it is best to obey God rather than humans. They pray so
intensely that the whole house where they are gathered begins to shake–a
sign of the Spirit. They are then encouraged and confirmed with great
“assurance” from the Holy Spirit and from their pondering over Psalm 2, a
Messianic Psalm that Jesus has fulfilled. The content of the Psalm fits
their present situation of being threatened with persecution both from
their own leaders and people and even like Jesus from the Gentiles.
The word for assurance (parresia) is key to the passage from the Acts
of the Apostles. It can be translated as “boldness” and in the context of
what they experience from the Spirit it spurs them on to preach unabashedly
the Name of Jesus and to ask for signs and wonders in that sacred Name.
Name denotes the Hebrew way of speaking also of God. As a group they thus
become people who have “apostolic boldness.” We, too, are called to have
that much confidence or assurance because of our Baptism in Christ that we
are to proclaim by word and deed the Good News the apostles have handed
down to us.
From the Resurrection scenes of the past week we now turn to the gift
of our Baptism seen in the dialogue Jesus has with Nicodemus–a name that
means Victor of or for the People. Jesus shows him through nature and
through words that all must be “born from above” or “born again” as the
expession in Greek permits both meanings.This is all possible through the
gift of the Spirit which Jesus promised and which has occurred through our
sacraments and our belief.
We may wish to take some time to read slowly and to meditate on Psalm
2 in order to see what the Apostles prayed in that house that shook. Nor
do we forget that we are still in that Great Sunday of fifty days. This is
recalled in a hymn called Salve Festa Dies( Hail,thee, Festival Day):
Hail thee, Festival Day!
Blest day that are hallowed forever;
Day when Christ arose,
Breaking the kingdom of death. Amen. Alleluia.