Fr. John Denburger, OCSO
2nd Thursday of Easter-time
Acts 5: 27 – 33; Ps 34; John 3: 31 – 36
A footnote in the New American Bible has this to say about today’s Gospel: it is uncertain whether these words are those of John the Baptist or of Jesus or of the Evangelist. Perhaps, this is an originally independent discourse of Jesus that has been inserted here by way of a comment on the two preceding scenes of Chapter 3.
The two previous scenes are: Jesus’ meeting with Nicodemus and the question of John’s baptizing.
Whoever is the one speaking in these verses, the verses themselves are about Jesus and His most unique relationship with the Father. And in that we are privileged to be granted certain information about their divine, eternal relationship in the Holy Spirit. No matter how much time we give to contemplating a passage like this, it will always exceed our grasp intellectually because it is about the mystery of God. Yet, it attracts us – rather, the Spirit of the Father and Son attracts us!
The passage is an important part of God’s holy word. The verses are intensely profound, extremely personal, divinely true and given to us so that through these sacred words, by prayer, by personal reflection we are graced to come to know God in our hearts, in our depths with a knowledge of love that goes beyond words. The words are spoken to us, given to us for our inner transformation, the transformation that affects our thinking, our acting, our entire being so that we truly put on Christ.
In the reading at vigils this morning, we heard in the sermon by Guerric of Igny: “…it is much more important to receive Jesus in our hearts than to see Him with our eyes or hear Him with our ears. The Spirit makes a much deeper impression on the interior of a person than material things make on the exterior senses.” (CISTERCIAN FATHERS: Sermon 33: The First Sermon for Easter)
Before His passion and death Jesus proclaimed, “When I am lifted up, I will draw all to Myself.” This “lifting up”, this exaltation of the Lord Jesus on the cross and by His Resurrection and Ascension is the power that draws us. As people of faith we are being lifted up, too, and drawn into the very life of the Trinity – Eternal Life for which we have been created. Such is the love of our God and the work of the Holy Spirit!