Today, after having completed the Easter Octave yesterday, we begin the second phase of our Easter celebration. Now we begin the preparation for the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the first Apostles, and later to each Christian believer.
We have in our Gospel today the emergence of the interesting figure of Nicodemus. He was a Jew, and one of the Pharisees. But he found Jesus and his message compelling, so a few times in John’s Gospel we get to hear from Nicodemus. Even though the rest of the Pharisees flat out rejected Jesus, Nicodemus knew that he couldn’t reject him so quickly. There was something to this Jesus, and he wanted to get to the bottom of it. We don’t know if he never fully, publicly accepted Jesus, but he definitely took many steps on the way.
Today Nicodemus and Jesus speak about being born again, born of the Spirit. This for us is a process of accepting the Gospel in faith, and receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit and then living as a people reborn. Although we can point to our Confirmation day, and even the day of our Baptism as days when we received the Holy Spirit, the process of accepting the Gospel in faith and living as a people reborn in the Spirit is one that takes the better part of all of our lives. What we celebrate with joy today is that we are on that journey. Because of the Resurrection of Our Lord and his gift of the Holy Spirit, we can now live according to the Spirit’s direction in our lives, confident that that Holy Spirit will give us the gifts and courage to do what we are called to do. The Apostles did that in today’s first reading, and now we must do the same.