Reflection on the Daily Readings for 4/23/09 by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Scripture: Second week of Easter. Thursday. Acts 5:27-33. Psalm
34:2.9.17-18.19-20. John 3:31-36. Lectionary # 270:
“For the One whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for he gives
the Spirit without measure.” (John 3:34). Jesus now breaks into a
monologue. The dialogue with Nicodemus has ended and this revelatory
summary helps us to understand both Jesus who is from above and his mission
as the Apostle, that is, the “one sent by God.” In this soliloquy of Jesus
the entire chapter is repeated in summary form and helps us to understand
what is being said about Baptism as well as the role of Jesus in his
revelatory word. We can follow some of the thought about Jesus’ “being from
above” by looking at the following verses found in the Gospel of John:
8:23; 18:36; 125:19; 17:14-16.
The world above and its transcendence is more frequent in John than
in the Synoptics. We already have seen in the Prologue that Jesus is the
Word of God from eternity who becomes human and lives, speaks, and works
marvels among us. The Word is always alive with us. This is the Easter
message that we hear in these readings, not directly, but in the overall
presentation of this Gospel.
We have finished hearing or reading chapter 3 and have come to
understand it as a teaching and revelation on Baptism and the Holy Spirit.
St. John’s Gospel has strong sacrament themes in this chapter and also in
chapter 6 (the Eucharist). Thus we see in our selection: the mission of
Jesus, the sacrament of Baptism, the giving of eternal life to those who
believe and separation from the things of earth by being united with Jesus
who comes from above. The world means those who hate the Christian message
and community while Jesus demonstrates that he will protect those who are
his own and are not of this world. The world of creation is not meant here
but the world of not believing in him and even hating those who do believe
Thus the Paschal Mysteries continue within us through the sacraments, the
word, and in our own being hated because of our belief in Jesus. Amen.