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Discourse with Nicodemus

Gospel Reading: Jn 3:16-21

God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.

Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God. And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed. But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.

The Gospel is the conclusion of Jesus’ instruction to Nicodemus on the meaning of being born from above. To illustrate this, Jesus uses two kinds of people: those who believe and those who do not; and two contrasting consequences: those who believe will be saved and have eternal life, while those who do not believe will be condemned and perish. Jesus also uses two images that are already presented in the Prologue: darkness and light. To be saved, we have to live in the light, that is, in the light of Jesus’ teachings. To be condemned means to live in darkness, that is, not to accept Jesus as the Son of God. The love of God cannot be felt by those who do not believe in Jesus as the Son of God.

It is difficult to come to the light of truth when we cling to our biases. Jesus tries to lead Nicodemus to the light of truth, but Nicodemus finds it difficult to understand him because he is bound by the Mosaic tradition. Pilate is also searching for the truth (cf Jn 18:38), but he does not find it because he listens more to the demands of the crowd than to his conscience.

“Truthful lips endure forever, the lying tongue, for only a moment” (Prv 12:19).

SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord,” ST PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: publishing@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.