Commentary on the Gospel of

John Shea, S.J.- Creighton University's Biology Department


Most of the world went into lockdown during Lent of 2020. And many of us have felt that Lent of 2020 never really ended and simply spilled over into 2021. So, this year’s Lent has felt particularly long for most of us. It’s been a dark Lent when you consider the number of people who have suffered from COVID-19, died from COVID-19 and the many victims of racial injustice that the pandemic laid bare for all to see. Even our common home has suffered from a record number of hurricanes, storms and wildfires.

So, we may have greeted this year’s Easter with greater joy than usual. As we enter the second week of Easter, we may still feel that joy. Yet, today’s readings take a more somber tone. They remind us that being a Christian is not all fun and games.

Our first reading picks up after Peter and John were released from custody following Peter’s healing of a lame man. Peter and John report how they were instructed not to teach in the name of Jesus. The fulfilment of Psalm 2:1-2 occurs not only with Jesus’ crucifixion, but also with the opposition his disciples face. This sober reminder of the consequences of being a disciple of Christ is tempered by God’s answer to their prayer: “they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.”

In the Gospel, Nicodemus comes to Jesus at night in the cover of darkness. As a member of the Sanhedrin, Nicodemus probably didn’t want any of his fellow Pharisees to know of his clandestine visit with Jesus. We’re immediately alerted to the dangers associated with following Christ. The darkness also recalls the womb of our birth. However, these reminders are tempered by Jesus’ answer to Nicodemus. Jesus calls us to be born again in water and Spirit. Our rebirth with baptism brings us out of darkness, out of sin and death, and into new life.

In this Easter season, we rejoice in the resurrection of Christ and the promise of new life. But we are also reminded of the risks entailed in following Christ and, at the same time, the assistance we have from the Holy Spirit.


write comment
Please enter the letters as they are shown in the image above.