“You are the teacher of Israel and you do not understand this?” (Jn 3:10)
In the discourse in today’s Gospel, Jesus is speaking to Nicodemus as the Gospel from yesterday continues. Jesus had been speaking about the need to be “born from above” and Nicodemus was totally confused. He questioned the Lord, wondering how one could be reborn. He was trying really hard; however, he was not coming to any kind of understanding.
To which, Jesus responded, “You are the teacher of Israel and you do not understand this?” Jesus then went on to address the fact that He had been speaking the truth for quite some time but the people were not accepting His testimony, effectively keeping themselves confused, in the dark.
To be honest with you, this Gospel, whenever it comes along in the liturgical cycle, disturbs me. I guess it disturbs me so much because I see myself in Nicodemus. Does that surprise you? It surprises — and startles — me. I think that I should not doubt, that I should have all the answers, that I should not waver.
Yet, in my humanity, there are many times that I read the Lord’s words, I struggle to understand what He is trying to teach, and I find myself saying, as Nicodemus did, only less eloquently, “Say what?!”
And I hear the Lord answering back to me, “You are the teacher of your faith community and you do not understand this?” No. I do not. I do not understand when other things get in the way. Those other things include fear, dismay, uncertainty, doubt, pain, confusion, and a whole host of other worldly symptoms.
Being called to perfection, I am, nonetheless, a frail human being with a sinful condition living in a sinful world, and trying to embrace the will of the Father. I must be reborn of the Spirit. I must allow God more fully into my life. But, as you well know, saying something and doing something are two different things.
FAITH ACTION: Spend between fifteen and thirty minutes in silence today. As you sit in silence, ask yourself the question, “What are some of my doubts?” Take the time to write them down for yourself. After you have written them down, write some ways that you can conquer your doubts so that you may be more confident in the Lord. Pray, as well, for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.