Born of the Spirit

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The Holy Spirit is constantly present. The movement and work of the Holy Spirit is seen in both of the readings today. In the first reading from Acts 4, St. Peter begs the Lord to “enable your servants to speak your word with all boldness, as you stretch forth your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” None of these things can be done without a powerful outpouring of the Spirit.

The Gospel reading contains a story that is very familiar to many. A Pharisee named Nicodemus was a great admirer of Jesus. But being a Pharisee and an admirer of Jesus was a volatile mix. So he comes to speak to Jesus at night. This begins a conversation about being “born again.” As Catholics, we understand this to refer to baptism, where we are “put to death” and reborn in the waters of baptism. Jesus says, “”Amen, amen, I say to you, unless one is born of water and Spirit he cannot enter the Kingdom of God.” He goes on to say, “The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Many Catholics see this notion of being “born of the Spirit” as a function of baptism and Confirmation. But this is a very limiting view. Some Protestants, especially Pentecostals, separate this from baptism but think of being “baptized in the Spirit,” which manifests itself in a very charismatic form of worship. The two need not be mutually exclusive. While baptism and Confirmation are indeed special outpourings of the Spirit, I believe the Holy Spirit is constantly moving and flowing and wanting us to be more open to that perpetual outpouring of the Spirit. Open yourself to the working of the Holy Spirit today. You’ll be amazed at the results!

Father, thank you for pouring our your Spirit to us every day. May we be open to receiving all that the Holy Spirit has to offer us today. Amen.

Today’s Readings

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