Malankara World

Sermons Based on the Lectionary of the Church

Devotional thoughts for Third Sunday after Denaha

by Jose Kurian Puliyeril

Gospel Reading: St. John 3:1-11

The main theme of today's reading is the discourse between our Lord Jesus Christ and Nicodemus, a Pharisee by birth, when he came to our Lord in the night. He might have selected the night for more than one reason. He might have selected the night, as he as well as Lord Jesus was free from the engagements of the daytime transactions. He might have considered the night as an ideal time to learn more from Lord Jesus. It is sure that Nicodemus had formed a clear opinion about Lord Jesus, even meeting Him face to face. The very first words of Nicodemus prove that he had a clear understanding about Lord Jesus even before meeting Him. He says "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no man do these miracles that you do, except God be with him" (Verse 2) Our Lord immediately understood what was meant by Nicodemus. (In fact Nicodemus had a feeling that our Lord is a good teacher who could explain about the Kingdom of God) So our Lord gave a unique answer to Nicodemus, which is to be studied in details. When we listen our Lord's reaction to the statement of Nicodemus, we feel that our Lord had accepted the statement of Nicodemus. But our Lord's answer and the style in which our Lord responded is really great. In simple words we could re-write our Lord's reply as "Yes my son, I admit your intention and I do accept your complements. But in fact, you will have to take a birth again to see the Kingdom of God".

Our Lord made us believe that the birth again through water and spirit is the perfect identification with the personality of our Lord. But how many of us could have such a blessing to understand the meaning of those holy verses? If somebody has gained the meaning and significance, how much he or she might have achieved? Let us think. When the Holy Baptism is administered to an infant, he or she undergoes the process of death and burial with our Lord and Savior, when immersed in the water and resurrects with our Lord when the infant is lifted up from the water. We are sure of this truth as taught by St. Paul in the 6th chapter of his epistle to Romans. A child accepts the birth from God, as mentioned in St. John 1:13. That is why St. Paul is teaching that when one is in Christ, he or she will be a new creation, when he or she loses the old state and accepts the new, as mentioned in 2 Corinthians 5:17. As far as we all are concerned we must always remember that we have accepted the birth again in our lives for once. We should not look for or wait for a date of birth again, as we have accepted it from the water as well as the spirit. Our Lord and Savior established the sacraments for the spiritual growth and nourishment of all the faithful who are linked to his life. We have to continue the sacramental life to ensure our life in our Lord until eternity. We should not forget the way shown by our forefathers in this regard.

Let us give heed to our Lord to hear about his own version about his works. Our Lord explains in St. John 5:36, "I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father has given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father has sent me". We read in St. John 7:31 that many were attracted to our Lord as they had believed in the works of our Lord.

Prophet Isaiah foretells about the birth again from the water and Spirit. (Isaiah 49:3-4) St. John the Baptist, the forerunner of our Lord says the one who is after me shall baptize you with fire and spirit. (St. Matthew 3:11) We all should not forget that when we were united with our Savior through the Baptism, we have actually obtained the baptism of fire, which stands for the purity, holiness and divinity of God. In our common lives we know how metals are tested in the fire. We all have inherited the qualities of God Almighty. But we might lose it partially as we are living in the world. When we lose the Godly nature in us, we must gain it back through the sacraments of Holy Confession and Holy Eucharist.

We are supposed to make arrangements for the growth and steady stay of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, which we have received through the Holy Baptism as well as the Holy Mooron. It is our right and responsibility. Let us read and meditate St. Matthew 3:11 and St. Mark 16:16. Let us make sure every day that our Lord and Savior is in us and we are guided by Him. Let think about the thousands and thousands who are ignorant of the birth again through water and spirit. Let us pray for the salvation of one and all. May God bless us all.

See Also:

Born anew
by H.G.Yuhanon Mor Meletius

God's Mysterious Ways
by Jose Kurian Puliyeril

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