Two curious young adults approached a Zen master and asked, “How do we attain peace in our lives?” The master replied, “There are two creatures inside of us. One feeds on anger, resentment, bitterness, frustration, fear, and doubts. The other feeds on mercy, forgiveness, compassion, understanding, and love.” The young adults inquired intriguingly, “Which creature is stronger?” The master replied, “The one you feed the most. Feed the right one; you will attain peace.”
Indeed, we sometimes feed the wrong creature in our lives. In today’s gospel, Nicodemus could have fed a new idea or an old one.
Having heard people talk about the signs Jesus did, Nicodemus was eager to meet Him. Nicodemus was a Pharisee, a Jewish leader. He knew the law but wanted to know what was going on. So, he came at night, probably because he didn’t want to be seen. When Jesus told him he had to be born again of water and the Spirit to enter heaven, he didn’t understand. He thought in terms of physical birth. The knowledge he had from his studies prevented him from being open to the Spirit of God.
Nicodemus had a tough choice to make that night. He could be born again in the water and the Spirit, become a new person to enjoy the peace Christ offered, and walk in His light. Or he could continue to rely on his past learning. Which would he feed? The Gospel writer doesn’t say, but we assume he fed his past learning.
By receiving the Sacrament of Baptism and Confirmation, we too are born in the water and the Spirit. We have the right creature, the Holy Spirit indwelling in us. The Holy Spirit offers us wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of God to feed our thoughts and actions rightly. However, when we have to make tough choices in our lives, which creature do we feed, the Holy Spirit, or the “desires of the flesh” (Gal. 5:17).
The Easter season is all about new life. We can see this as we watch the trees and plants around us are coming back to life. How can we feed the life of the Spirit in us? How can we feed our indwelling Spirit to enjoy the spiritual gifts it offers?
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About Father Jilson Tom, C.S.C.
Father Jilson Tom, C.S.C. is from the Northeast India Province of Holy Cross. A native of Kerala, Father Jilson has been serving in a parish and school ministry since his ordination twelve years ago. He joins the Family Rosary team as an Assistant, while he works to study Pastoral Counseling in the Boston area. With a personal devotion to Mother Mary, Father Jilson is thrilled to be working to enhance family prayer through the Rosary. And if you ever need a listening ear or want to play a board game, Father Jilson’s your guy!