If you were asked a question today, right now, “Are you a born again Christian?” you would probably feel uneasy about answering. You would probably answer “No.”
Unfortunately, the term “born again Christian” has been abused to the point that we now recoil from being branded as “born again” because of the negative connotations it carries.
But in our Gospel reading, we, all, are said to have been born again. It points to the fact that we all have been born anew on account of water and Baptism, and the Spirit that we received when we were baptized.
Thus if you are approached and asked, “Have you been born again in the Lord?” please answer, “Yes, a thousand times over, because I have been baptized by water and the Holy Spirit.” It is not true that only those who have joined the fundamentalist fellowship gatherings have become born-again Christians. All of us have been born anew. All of us have been born of the water and the Holy Spirit. Therefore all of us enjoy the title.
However, what should bother us is this question: “Do you live as a Christian who has been born again? Are you living according to the fact that you have been born anew by water and the Holy Spirit?” I can easily answer the first question for you, as I may already have. I am sure that all of you – and me — have been born again by the water and the Holy Spirit. But only you can answer the second question.
Only your life can attest to the positive response to that query. Unfortunately, we identify Christians today in terms of baptismal certificates. When you want to get married and you want to establish the fact that you are a Catholic, that you have been baptized anew, the priest requires you to give a baptismal certificate. This becomes the proof that you have been born again.
It is a sad reality that it is enough that we are able to present a piece of paper to be called Christians.
Come to think of it, if Mother Teresa were to come along, would you dare ask her to prove her Christianity, her being a Catholic, by requiring her to present her baptismal certificate? This bold action would not occur to you because you know that Mother Teresa’s entire life bears witness to the fact that she is a born again Christian.
Sadly for us, our lives are not enough proof, our lives are not enough testimonies, to earn for us the unquestionable label of being a true Christian. It is pathetic that we have to resort to a meaningless paper to attest to our being “a baptized Christian.” Let us look forward to that day in the Church, in the world, when people will look at us and our lives and see right away that we are authentic Christians.
Let us look forward to that day in our lives when we would not have to secure an ID to prove that we are Christians because our own lives identify us, mark us and show to the world that we, indeed, have been born anew by water and the Holy Spirit.
You all have been born anew. You all have been born again by water and the Holy Spirit. But are you living by that reality?
Are you living by that vocation which says, “Because you have been born again, you must live like born again people.”
Only Jesus, Always Jesus