Gospel Reflection – Thursday, April 11, 2024 – John 3,31-36 – Catholic Bible

First Reading (Acts 5,27-33)

Reading of the Acts of the Apostles.

In those days they took the apostles and presented them to the Sanhedrin. The high priest began to question them, saying: “We had expressly forbidden you to teach in the name of Jesus. Despite this, you filled the city of Jerusalem with your doctrine. And you still want to make us responsible for that man’s death!”

Then Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you killed, by nailing him to a cross. God, by his power, exalted him, making him Supreme Guide and Savior, to give the people of Israel conversion and forgiveness of their sins. And we are witnesses of this, we and the Holy Spirit, which God has given to those who obey Him.” When they heard this, they were furious and wanted to kill them.

– Word of the Lord.

– Thank God.

Gospel (John 3,31-36)

— Proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John.

— Glory to you, Lord.

“He who comes from above is above all. What is of the earth, belongs to the earth and speaks of the things of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. He testifies to what he saw and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. Whoever accepts his testimony attests that God is true. Indeed, the one whom God sent speaks the words of God, because God gives him the spirit without measure.

The Father loves the Son and has given everything into his hands. He who believes in the Son possesses eternal life. But whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for the wrath of God remains upon him.”

— Word of Salvation.

— Glory to you, Lord.

Reflecting the Word of God

My brothers and sisters in Christ,

Today, we will reflect on the inspiring words of the Holy Scriptures, which invite us to delve into the depths of divine love and discover the truth that transforms our lives. Our readings today, drawn from the Acts of the Apostles and the Gospel according to John, take us on a spiritual journey that resonates with our daily experiences, revealing to us the constant presence of God in our lives.

Imagine, for a moment, walking through the busy streets of a city. The hustle and bustle and worries of everyday life consume our thoughts, and it is often easy to lose sight of the essential truth that sustains us. But even in the midst of this turmoil, we are called to seek the truth that transcends worldly concerns.

In the first reading, we find the apostles confronted by religious authorities, who feel threatened by the transformative power of Jesus’ teaching. The apostles are arrested and placed before the Sanhedrin, the supreme court of the time. Yet they remain steadfast in their faith and trust in God, courageously bearing witness to his message of love and salvation.

This passage reminds us that even in the midst of persecution and adversity, we are not alone. God is by our side, strengthening us and enabling us to face life’s challenges. He gives us the courage to be faithful and courageous witnesses, regardless of the circumstances that surround us.

In the Gospel of John, we find one of the most beloved and powerful passages of Scripture: “He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks the things of the earth; he who comes from heaven is above of all. What he saw and heard, this is what he testifies; and no one accepts his testimony” (John 3,31-32).

These words of John the Baptist invite us to lift our eyes beyond earthly concerns and fix them on the Kingdom of Heaven. They remind us that true wisdom and discernment come from above, from God himself. As we strive to understand the things of this world, we must remember that there is a greater and deeper reality that is beyond our reach.

Sometimes we can get caught up in our own limitations and limited perspectives. But God, in his infinite mercy, invites us to open our hearts and minds to receive the truth that comes from above. He invites us to abandon arrogance and humbly seek His guidance and wisdom.

To illustrate this truth, allow me to share a story with you. There was a wise master who lived in a small village. People came from all over in search of his teachings. Once a famous academic came to him and started asking complex and elaborate questions. The master listened patiently and then took an empty cup and began to fill it with water.

As the water overflowed the cup, the scholar said, “Master, the cup is full. It cannot hold any more water.” The master smiled and said, “You are like this cup, full of your own ideas and opinions, incapable of receiving new teachings. And if you want to learn, you must first empty yourself.”

This story reminds us that to receive God’s truth, we must empty ourselves of our own limited conceptions and be willing to open our hearts and minds. Only when we recognize our need for God and humble ourselves before Him can we experience the fullness of divine truth and love.

Dear brothers and sisters, the central message of God’s Word today is clear: we must seek the truth that sets us free, even when the world around us distracts us and diverts us from that path. We must remember that we are called to live on a deeper level, connected with the divine reality that transcends temporal concerns.

To fully understand this message, we can turn to a powerful visual image: a tree. A tree has deep roots that support it and anchor it in the ground. It is through these roots that the tree connects with the nutrients and water it needs to grow and flourish. Likewise, we, as people of faith, must have deep spiritual roots that connect us with God’s truth and love.

These spiritual roots are nourished by prayer, reading the Scriptures, and participating in the sacraments of the Church. When we connect with these sources of grace, we allow God’s truth to penetrate every aspect of our lives. Just as a tree reaches toward the sun to get the light it needs, we must reach toward God to receive His truth that lights our paths.

But, just as a tree needs to be pruned to grow and become stronger, we also need to do spiritual pruning in our lives. We must be willing to let go of the things that keep us from God’s truth – sins, bad habits, negative influences – and allow divine grace to transform us.

A practical way to do this is to dedicate time daily to reflection and self-evaluation. Set aside a few quiet moments each morning or at the end of the day to examine your life in light of God’s Word. Say a sincere prayer, asking God to reveal the areas in which you need to grow and change. And then, with God’s grace, take concrete steps to correct these areas and seek the truth in your daily life.

Dear brothers and sisters, God’s truth is alive and active in our lives. It calls us beyond worldly concerns and invites us to live in a deeper dimension, in communion with divine love. May we be like trees planted by streams of water, rooted in God’s truth and bearing abundant fruits of love, generosity and compassion.

May the Word of God, which we hear today, not just be a beautiful story, but a call to action in our lives. May the truth we find in the Holy Scriptures become tangible and applicable in our daily experiences. And, most of all, may we be living witnesses of divine love and hope in a world that longs for these eternal truths.

May God, in his infinite mercy, grant us the grace to seek and live the truth in our lives. May He strengthen us to face the challenges and adversities that we encounter on our path. And may He, in His goodness, guide us towards the fullness of life in communion with Him.

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with us always. Amen.