Is it hard to understand? It is not the only thing hard to understand in our life. Do you think that it is easy to understand a person who being imprisoned unjustly for three years can still say: ‘I don’t have any ill feelings for those responsible for the injustice done to me.’ When the imprisonment was being prolonged he added: ‘There isn’t any harm that cannot be forgiven.’ These are the words of Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, Archbishop of Warsaw in Poland, who in 1953 was detained by the socialist government and kept a prisoner until 1956. The secret of his attitude was revealed when he said: ‘I believe that I remain in love, that I am still a Christian and a child of my Church who taught me to love all people. It was the Church who taught me that those who declare themselves my enemies I can turn into my brothers in my heart.’ Such attitude is hard to understand, isn’t it? Should we put it aside or ignore it then?
My Dear Sisters and Brothers! The mystery of the Holy Trinity is hard to understand. The mystery of Cardinal Wyszynski’s attitude is hard to understand. However both mysteries have something else in common, not just that they are hard to understand, they are about life.
Let us listen again to what Jesus said to Nicodemus because it is the life giving word for us too: ‘God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost but may have eternal life.’ These words Jesus spoke at the beginning of the Gospel. At the end of the Gospel we will see Nicodemus again. He will go to Pilate to ask for the body of Jesus. He will place the crucified Body in his own grave.
Nicodemus’ grave reminds us of our own dying. This is a reminder of all things we don’t have control over, things we don’t understand.
Nicodemus’ gesture of giving his grave to Jesus reminds us to invite Jesus into those aspects of our life we don’t have control over or don’t understand and which look more like dying with no hope on the horizon. Nicodemus during the conversation with Jesus, which we have just heard, couldn’t understand many things either. However those words Jesus spoke, and which were hard to understand, were also seeds of eternal life sown in Nicodemus’ soul. Before Jesus’ body was placed in Nicodemus’ grave Jesus’ words found home in Nicodemus’ soul.
On Easter Sunday morning Jesus was raised from Nicodemus’ grave. On Easter Sunday morning it was confirmed that Nicodemus didn’t put his hope in Jesus in vain. In light of the Resurrection St John wrote later: ‘Life was made visible, we saw it and we are giving our testimony, declaring eternal life, which was present to the Father and has been revealed to us. We are declaring to you what we have seen and heard, so that you too may share our life. Our life is shared with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.’
My Dear fellow believers! Gather with faith the words you hear here, like Nicodemus did when Jesus spoke to him that night when he heard from the Saviour: ‘God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost but may have eternal life.’
My Dear fellow believers! Treasure in your heart, and among yourselves, these words, these seeds of eternal life, like Nicodemus did in the days and nights which followed his night encounter with Jesus. Then you will also witness the eruption of eternal life in you, in your family and in your Church community. Christ Jesus will turn your grave: your helplessness and your hopelessness into the Resurrection morning. Then Jesus’ prayer from the Last Supper will be fulfilled in you and in our Church: ‘Eternal life is this: to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you sent.’ Knowing is about living with the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
In order to reassure yourself, and believe me you need such reassurance, make sure that EVERY time when you make the sign of the cross that your forehead can feel your hand, that your chest can feel your hand and that your shoulders can feel your hand. In this way you immerse your whole being: your mind, your heart and your will in the life of the Holy Trinity: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.