2nd Monday of Easter (readings)
Christ reveals a new way of life in the Gospel today, telling Nicodemus that he must be born of above, born of the spirit, if he ever wishes to see the Kingdom of God, if he ever wishes to reach heaven.
Jesus speaks very forcefully about man’s new condition: it is no longer a question of being born of the flesh, of being born of the line of Abraham (cf. Jn 1:13), but rather of being reborn through the action of the Holy Spirit, by means of water.
St. Augustine tells us that, “Nicodemus had not yet savored this spirit and this life. […] He knew but one birth, which is from Adam and Eve; that which is from God and the Church, he did not yet know; he knew only the paternity which engenders to death; he did not yet know the paternity which engenders to life. […] Whereas there are two births, he knew only of one. One is of earth, the other of heaven; one of the flesh, the other of the Spirit; one of mortality, the other of eternity; one of male and female, the other of God and the Church. But the two are each unique; neither one nor the other can be repeated.”
Our Lord speaks of the wonderful effects the Holy Spirit produces in the soul of the baptized. Namely, we are made sons and daughters of God, heirs of the Most High. We receive grace upon grace, in order to more closely conform our lives to that of Jesus Christ; we die with him in the waters of baptism, just as he died on the Cross, so that we might rise with him at the resurrection.
My brothers and sisters, this is why Baptism is so important, without it, we are most assuredly lost.