Lift Up Jesus
20 March 2018
Blink and you’ll miss the connection between the first reading and the Gospel of today’s Mass.
In the first reading, we have the fascinating story of the Israelites ‘speaking against God and against Moses’ because they were sick of eating manna.
God, displeased, sent ‘fiery serpents’ among the people and their bite proved deadly. The people repented soon enough and begged Moses to intercede with the Lord.
Moses interceded for the people, and the Lord answered him, ‘Make a fiery serpent and put it on a standard. If anyone is bitten and looks at it, he shall live.’
A symbol of the torment they were suffering, cast in bronze and raised on a pole. If they looked upon that symbol with faith and a repentant heart, the Israelites found themselves healed.
So with Jesus.
In giving himself to be crucified, He assumes to himself all the brokenness and pain of humanity, our sin and its consequences. We are invited to look upon the crucified one with a repentant heart, knowing that this is no Galilean rabble rouser, but the Son of the eternal Father, offering his life in sacrifice as the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
‘When you have lifted up the Son of Man,
then you will know that I am He
and that I do nothing of myself:
what the Father has taught me is what I preach;
he who sent me is with me,
and has not left me to myself,
for I always do what pleases him.’
As we prepare for Holy Week next week, let’s pray for the grace to be able to look with love at Jesus lifted up on the cross. It is by His wounds that we are healed.