[The "Johannine hours" are meant as a way of seeking God in silence and prayer in the midst of our daily life. During the course of a day, take a moment to read the Bible passage with the short commentary and to reflect on the questions which follow. Afterwards, a small group people can meet to share what they have discovered and perhaps for a time of prayer.]
Birth is the moment in which one's life appears as both gift and call. I can be brought into the world only by the act of an other person, by someone who is expecting me.
"Being born of the flesh" is to be separated from one's mother's body and to become autonomous; it is to take on one's own face and to become able to meet others, face to face. Yet human life is not this alone. A person only becomes fully alive when he or she discovers, beyond themselves, a "why" or a "whom" to live for. If there is nothing to live for or if one is alone, a person will find neither the energy or motivation needed to set out into life, filled as it is with suffering.
"Being born from above" is to discover that one's deepest identity is to be found ahead of us, in the process of becoming where choices and responsibility come into play, from the present moment onwards. Recognizing clearly the "why" of our existence and anchoring it within God, gives our desire a direction over the course of a whole lifetime.
"Being born of water" is a reference to a reality already evoked at Jesus' own baptism (Mt 3:16-17). Coming up out of the dark waters, together with Christ, is to be liberated from the power of evil, fear and death, in order to take part here and now in his resurrection.
To be born into this world by the Spirit who "makes us
cry out, Abba, Father," means leaving self-preoccupation
behind and opening ourselves to God's hope for us, entering thereby
into a life of communion. This means to hear, in silence and
peace, the call of Christ who tells us of God's plan and
draws out of self-isolation.
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