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Denaha,5th Sun.Feb.6,11

Speaking of Hamlet in Shakespeare’s play of the same name, Victor Hugo mentions in one of his critical reviews that Hamlet is every one of us. The problem with Hamlet is his indecisiveness. His confusion and ambivalence are well pronounced in his soliloquy that begins with the famous words: “To be nor not to be.” Most of us too become confused like Hamlet when confronted with difficult choices we have to make unless we are helped by the grace and power of our faith.

Today’s Gospel presents before us a person like Hamlet in Nicodemus. He is really confused and spiritually paralyzed as to the choices he has to make in his life whether he has to be aligned with Jesus or work against Him. He has to get these matters cleared and hence he comes to Jesus Himself straight away.

The context is very interesting to note. Nicodemus, one of the reputed teachers of Israel comes to Jesus at night. He is afraid to meet Jesus during the day time because of the fear that his colleagues would isolate him. The darkness of the night is also indicative of his spiritual blindness. He needs the Eternal Light to open His eyes to the Dawn of Salvation.

Nicodemus is deeply troubled, confused and disturbed at the presence of Jesus in their midst. The words and actions of Jesus make him think that he is the Redeemer. But if he is the Savior, why there is that much reluctance to admit Him as the Savior by the Pharisees. He wants to meet Jesus and talk out this matter with Him.

Within a few highly packed words, Jesus speaks to him about the new birth he has to undergo to receive salvation and also about His own death and resurrection. All these matters of the spirit are beyond the comprehension of Nicodemus. He is still at the material level of understanding. He asks how one can be reborn. Jesus leads him gradually to go beyond the material world into the world of the Spirit and shows that the impact of spiritual life cannot be visibly seen. The spirit blows where it wills.

Jesus also tells him how His death and resurrection would prove to be the source of eternal life for every one. Using an incident very familiar to the Jews from the Book of Numbers, Jesus tells him how people are going to be saved by His Resurrection just like the people who were saved by looking at the raised bronze serpent.

Nicodemus is every spiritual seeker, every genuine wayfarer in spiritual life. He is our own image in our search for the meaning of life. His confusion and bewilderment are own confusion and bewilderment when we are at the cross roads of life, knowing not where to turn.

The baptism that we have received makes us unique sharers in the life of Christ. It makes us the children of God, and the abodes of the Holy Spirit. We are called to live out a new life. We are not just spectators but participants in the life of Christ.

We are not at the periphery like Nicodemus in this event. We are in the circle. Jesus is with us. We are given a new life. We have to realize the implications of this new life, a life that transforms us at the depths of our hearts.

A Christian life offers us a new vision of reality. We have to see things not in the perspective of the world but that of the spirit. When difficult choices face us, we know where to turn. We should not be turning to those who deny their faith in Jesus for guidance and advice but to Christ. The cross of sicknesses, failures and insults is hard to carry by our personal efforts but with Jesus beside us , we can carry it.

The Cross is our banner of victory. The outstretched arms of Jesus are there to protect us. His hands remind us that He is always there to embrace us in the warmth of His love against the forces of destruction and hostility.

Nicodemus later in life came in the broad daylight to receive the body of Jesus as a converted man, as a spiritually enlightened person, no more afraid of any one.

We too will become enlightened when we commit ourselves totally to Jesus as our Savior and Lord and will never be afraid of any hostile forces in our life.


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