One Bread, One Body - Reflection for April 20, 2009


"Nicodemus...came to [Jesus] at night." –John 3:1-2

Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a "teacher of Israel" (Jn 3:1, 10), a prominent Jewish leader. He was intrigued by Jesus. In his prayers he realized God was with Jesus, for he knew no one could do such wonders without God's approval (Jn 3:2).

Nicodemus approached Jesus at night (Jn 3:2). This tells us several things about Nicodemus. First, he was open to Jesus and wanted to learn from Him. If Nicodemus were hostile to Jesus, he would have simply confronted Jesus during the day as did other Pharisees. Second, Nicodemus had the humility to realize that God was moving in a new way through Jesus. Nicodemus wanted to move where God was moving, and thus he was impelled to approach Jesus. Third, Nicodemus was fearful of the opinion of others. He did not want to be associated with Jesus publicly.

Nicodemus next appeared amid an assembly of Pharisees and chief priests who had attempted to arrest Jesus. He took the next step in discipleship by publicly associating himself with Jesus. He spoke up to defend Jesus and encouraged them to listen to Jesus and learn the facts about Him (Jn 7:50-51). In so doing, Nicodemus was ridiculed and taunted (Jn 7:52).

Finally, Nicodemus appeared in broad daylight to bury the crucified Jesus, "bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes which weighed about a hundred pounds" (Jn 19:39). Though the other disciples fled for fear of death, Nicodemus would not be fleeing. He showed his total commitment to Jesus by carrying a hundred pounds of spices, a quantity fit for the burial of a king. Nicodemus, now a bold disciple, had accepted Jesus as his King, Lord, and God.

PRAYER: Jesus, like Nicodemus, I will not be ashamed of You (Mk 8:38) or Your gospel (Rm 1:16). You are my King!
PROMISE: "They were filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak God's word with confidence." –Acts 4:31
PRAISE: Martha's devotion to Mass eventually led her husband to the Church.

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Reprinted with permission from Presentation Ministries, a lay association of the Catholic Church that focuses on evangelization and discipleship through Bible teaching, daily Mass, the charisms of the Holy Spirit, and Small Christian Community. Their ministries include:

· One Bread, One Body
· Daily Bread Radio Program
· Annual Bible Institute
· Discipleship Retreats
· Guadalupe Bible College