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Man divides, not God. Yet God, through his own Son, Jesus, has shown man the way, truth and life. It's so unbelievably easy but God still fully respects our individual freedoms and our right to choose for ourselves - for we each bear our own responsibility for our own salvation. It's so easy, IMHO - and I guess that's because He makes it so easy for me to understand. Cheers! :))
Hope these scripture readings that I had posted earlier may help to clear your confusion. As you can see, I've been brought up well in the faith - there is nothing that's missing in all that we've been taught since we were kids, and as adults we continue to strengthen our faith with the guidance of the Church. Vinaka.
16 April 2012 2nd Week of Easter
Acts 4:23-31 As soon as Peter and John were released they went to the community and told them everything the chief priests and the elders had said to them. When they heard it they lifted up their voice to God with one heart. “Master,” they prayed, “it is you who made sky and earth and sea, and everything in them; it is you who said through the Holy Spirit and speaking through our ancestor David, your servant: Why this uproar among the nations, this impotent muttering of the peoples? Kings on earth take up position, princes plot together against the Lord and his Anointed. This is what that has come true: in this very city Herod and Pontius Pilate plotted together with the gentile nations and the peoples of Israel, against your holy servant Jesus whom you anointed, to bring about the very thing that you in your strength and your wisdom had predetermined should happen. And now, Lord, take note of their threats and help your servants to proclaim your message with all fearlessness, by stretching out your hand to heal and to work miracles and marvels through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” As they prayed, the house where they were assembled rocked. From this time they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to proclaim the word of God fearlessly.
Blessed are they who put their trust in God. (Ps 2:1-3. 4-7a.7b-9)
Jn 3:1-8 There was one of the Pharisees called Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews, who came to Jesus by night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you have come from God as a teacher; for no one could perform the signs that you do unless God were with him.” Jesus answered, “In all truth I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God, without being born from above. Nicodemus said, “How can anyone who is old be born? Is it possible to go into the womb again and be born?” Jesus replied, “In all truth I tell you, that no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born through water and the Spirit; what is born of human nature is human; what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be surprised when I say: You must be born from above. The wind blows where it pleases; you can hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
Nicodemus represents the beginners in the journey of faith. In the process of the maturation of faith, Nicodemus has to learn many things. The first instruction given by Jesus is, “no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” (Jn 3:3). No one is privileged to have a physical rebirth, but it is always possible to have a series of spiritual rebirths. To be “born from above” refers to this spiritual rebirth brought forth by a decisive change in life. Hence, let us not lament that we have only one life, but rejoice that we can always remain young by making the best use of the opportunities of rebirth that the Lord offers us.
17 April 2012 2nd Week of Easter
The Lord is king with majesty enrobed (Ps 93;1ab. 1cd-2.5)
Jn 3:7b-15 Jesus said to Nicodemus, You must be born from above. The wind blows where it pleases; you can hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” “How is that possible?, asked Nicodemus. Jesus replied, “You are the Teacher of Israel and you do not know these things! In all truth I tell you, we speak only about what we know and witness only to what we have seen and yet people reject our evidence. If you do not believe me when I speak to you about earthly things, how will you believe me when I speak to you about heavenly things? No one has gone up to heaven except the one who came down from heaven, the Son of man; as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so must the Son of man be lifted up so that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him”.
Jesus says, “Whoever believes in him may have eternal life” (Jn 3:15) because there is an inseparable connection between the faith and the works of a person. The manner in which we live reveals the measure and the strength of our faith. Faith can overcome the obstacles we face in life; faith makes us courageous amidst difficulties; prompts us to go ahead in the total loss of everything. Faith is to believe in that which we do not see, and the result will be that we will see that which we believe in. We are as strong as the strength of our faith and as weak as the weakness of our faith. When faith and faithfulness are difficult, it is then we need them even more.