Today we read about Nicodemus, a wealthy Pharisee and a respected member of the Sanhedrin. This was a judicial council made up of leading citizens including the chief priests, elders, and scribes and presided over by the high priest. We first meet Nicodemus in the Gospel of John 3: 1-15 when he comes to speak to Jesus in secret at night for fear that his fellow Pharisees would hear about his meeting and have him barred from entering the synagogue again.
Nicodemus must have heard Jesus preaching at various times and this had led him to embark on his own journey of faith. Today we see him speaking out in defence of Jesus whom the Sanhedrin were keen to have arrested. Nicodemus was ridiculed by his peers for taking a stand for Jesus.
We also experience ridicule when we stand up for our faith. As a result, we often prefer to say nothing and fade into the background when people start criticizing the Catholic Church and its members. We quickly wash off our ashes from Ash Wednesday so that we aren’t put into a position where we have to explain what the “smudge” on our forehead is all about. We are provided with so many opportunities to speak-up and testify to the faith and hope we have as Catholics. Lent is the ideal season to be brave and to share our faith with others.
The last time we read about Nicodemus is in John 19: 38-40 when Joseph of Arimathea asked for the body of Jesus. Nicodemus brought along a large quantity of expensive spices and the two men prepared Jesus’ body for burial. We see evidence of Nicodemus’ wonderful journey of faith, braving ridicule and the chance of expulsion from the synagogue, culminating in him performing the most beautiful act of service in anointing the body of his Lord and Saviour before laying Him to rest.
Seek out an opportunity to share with someone what the season of Lent means to you and how you are journeying from Repentance to Renewal.
Father help me to be brave and to take a stand for Jesus even when I’m ridiculed for my faith. Give me the words to speak so I can boldly share the hope I have because of Jesus’ Resurrection at Easter. Amen