Gospel: Jn 3: 13-17
Jesus said to Nicodemus: “No one has gone up to heaven except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.
THE SON OF MAN WAS LIFTED UP: People complained against God and Moses about the wretched food. In punishment, the LORD sent serpents among them. However, in his mercy, God commanded Moses to make another serpent. Whoever was bitten by earlier serpents, when they looked at the serpent from Moses, they would live. God through His love, sent His Only Son who was lifted up on the cross for the salvation of the world. Today we celebrate the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. It reminds us of a sacrifice by which our salvation was won. We see that in the midst of suffering, salvation finds its way and brings hope to the world. Jesus sacrificed himself by accepting death on the cross, showing great love for humanity. We are all called to offer our lives for others.
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, bring those whom you redeemed by the wood of Cross to the glory of resurrection.
BRONZE SERPENT AND THE SON OF MAN ON THE HOLY CROSS: Moses in the desert lifted the bronze serpent. The people of Moses’ time saw the results of their sin nailed to a pole and raised above them. Those who looked at it with faith received healing. It prefigures the great instrument of healing- Cross. Jesus without any sin (Is 53:9) was raised up on the Cross like the Bronze serpent on the Cross in the desert. The results of our sin and that of all humanity nailed to a pole and raised. For Christ took the price of all our sins upon himself. Christ crucified is the sign of our salvation. There is a difference between the bronze serpent and the Cross of Jesus Christ. Those who looked on the bronze serpent were healed of their poisonous bite of the snakes, but Jesus heals the wounds of Sin. It was only the bronze serpent, but on the Cross, we find Jesus Christ who is God and man. It was only the Israelites who were healed in the desert, but on the Cross the whole humanity was redeemed by Jesus Christ from sin. St. John Paul II told to a group of school children the first letter of God’s alphabet is the Cross. God created the universe with the Cross in mind and it is in the life of each one of us. The Cross stands at the center of creation and the center of human history. Let us humble ourselves and give totally to Jesus Christ who gave Himself to us.
SIGN OF THE CROSS: Christ came to conquer death and destroy sin by shedding his blood on the Cross. By the redemption won upon it, the Cross has become the source of all grace for us. We now share in the victory of the Cross by uniting ourselves to Christ in a life of supernatural virtue, for “the goal of the virtuous life is to become like God” (CCC 1803). Through the Cross we are granted access to the divine, but to be united with Him. In virtue of this union, we look upon the world from his perspective, seeing the reality of his creation. He draws us to Himself, healing our vision, which has been blurred and darkened by sin. Through the Cross, Christ discards anything that blurs reality, conforming us to himself through the life of supernatural virtue. As we find in St. Catherine of Siena’s Dialogue, Christ has become for us a bridge between heaven and earth. Today we exalt the Cross. For by the Cross the fullness of the virtues has been unlocked for us, and now we have a sure path to God.