THE DAY OF PENTECOST:
First Reading: Isaiah 6: 1- 8
Comment: “Isaiah’s vision and call”
Our first reading is about Isaiah’s vision of the Lord and his prophetic commission. The earthly temple becomes an icon for the temple in heaven. Isaiah is purged of his guilt and sin and responds to the Lord’s call. The church hears in the thrice-holy song of the seraphim an anticipation of its praise of God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
The majesty of God is described in the likeness of a mighty thunderstorm.
SECOND READING (The Epistle): Romans 8:12-17
Comment: “Living by the Spirit”
In this lesson we hear that if we follow our lower nature, we are enslaved and destined to death, but when we are moved by God’s Spirit, we become God’s children and heirs with Christ. The Spirit makes this experience possible by prompting our lips to call upon God as Father with the same Aramaic word (Abba) that Jesus used. This new relationship means that we are no longer required to be led by baser instincts. Our heritage is life, while we must also learn to share in Christ’s sufferings.
THE HOLY GOSPEL John 3:1-17
Comment: “Entering the reign of God”
In our gospel story Nicodemus, one of the Pharisees, comes during the night to talk with Jesus. Nicodemus is a figure used by the Evangelist to represent a type of person who wants to believe but has difficulty understanding spiritual realities. Jesus tells him that no-one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born anew through water and the Spirit. The inner meaning of the passage partly turns on the fact that “born anew” can also be understood as “born from on high,” and that the same Greek word means both wind and spirit. Jesus then tells Nicodemus of the Son of Man come down from heaven who will be lifted up, both on the cross to die for the world and to return to heaven in glory.