20 April, 2020

Do not marvel that I said to you “You must be born anew”.

~ John 3:7 ~

Although this is a text that happens before the Resurrection, placing it here during Easter makes a lot of sense if you think about it. Jesus’ conversation with the scholar Nicodemus is both sound advice and foreshadowing of what is to come – for us, what has come.[/vc_column_text]

It is all about being ‘born anew’, born literally into resurrection life. Though many Bible translations use the word ‘again’ – and many Christians call themselves ‘born again’ – I prefer the subtlety of this interpretation of the Greek text. Why?

Because for me the idea of ‘again’ suggests too much of a physical death and rebirth (even that strange idea of reincarnation). This is not our experience of resurrection. The early Christian disciples experienced a spiritual death – of hopes and expectations in the loss of Jesus – that, in their experience of resurrection, was transformed. They were the same, yet different, renewed by the Risen Christ.

If we look at our first reading this is further clarified. Faced with opposition they prayed for guidance. They were still afraid. Yet through the Holy Spirit and their wider experience of what we might call the events of Easter, they found new courage. They were transformed by it all and resolved to proclaim Christ’s resurrection to everyone.

I think this is the same for us too. As we participate in the Resurrection, we are transformed. Amidst a time of suffering and death, filled with the Spirit we are invited to find news of living resurrected lives. We must be born anew.

This will include facing the challenge of being Church in a time where all the old ways have been stripped away. Let us imagine, in the Spirit, where this will take us.


Loving God, fill us with your Spirit  that we may be born anew.  Strengthen us in difficulties; Help us to renew your church at this time,  that we may continue to witness to the Resurrection of your Son in boldness and joy. Amen.


Catholic Parliamentary

Liaison Office

Jesuit Institute
South Africa

Reflection prepared by

Fr Anthony Egan SJ

Fr Anthony Egan SJ (born Cape Town 1966; entered the Jesuits 1990; ordained 2002) has taught, full-time or part-time, at St Augustine College of South Africa, St John Vianney Seminary, Fordham University (on sabbatical) and the University of the Witwatersrand. The author/co-author of a number of books, book chapters, academic and popular articles, he is a correspondent for America magazine, a contributor to Worldwide and writes for spotlight.africa. He is also a commentator on local and international radio and television. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Helen Suzman Foundation. Extramural interests include Science Fiction, Theatre, Art and creative writing, including poetry.

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