Lift up the Son of Man on the Cross

by | Mar 5, 2024 | Formation, Reflections

Those in power lift up Jesus on the wood of the cross.  In letting them do so, he proves true his word that God so loves the world that he gives his only Son, so that those who believe in him may have eternal life. 

The Lord tells Moses to lift up on a pole a serpent of bronze. He says to Moses besides that those the serpents bite will live when they look at the serpent of bronze. It turns out odd to us, for sure, that the serpent that brings death is now a sign of life.

But what is odd, paradoxical, is also said of Jesus on the cross. For he says that to lift up the serpent of bronze is like to lift up the Son of Man. That is to say, both makes for life. For to look at the serpent of bronze means to live. And to believe in him who hangs on the cross means to have eternal life.

We, then, ask, of course, how the venom of the serpent can cure. And to deal with this question, it is enough for us to bring to mind the rod of Asclepius. It is a sign for medicine and health care.

And as for Christ on the cross, how can it be that through his death those who believe in him will have eternal life? It does so since he shows us how to love as he dies on the cross. And for us to believe in him, and love as he, means to be free of selfishness, greed. Selfishness, greed, spells but ruin, death, and wreaks havoc on the lives of all. So, the mighty Savior is the one on the cross, not the calf of gold.

Love, on the other hand, cannot but lead to peace, union, mutual help, quality of life, eternal life. Yes, Jesus’ death, his giving up his body and shedding his blood, means life for those who believe in him.

Lord Jesus, by your death you have opened for us the way that leads to life. Guide us to walk in your way, turn away from our selfishness and greed, and believe in you who have let those in power lift up your body on the cross, so that we may have eternal life. Do not let us be with those who, like their harsh and exacting god, always find fault, are angry forever, seek the death of those who cross them, and ask for bloody reparations for offenses. Grant us to be like you, rather, and like your God, who is mercy in essence (SV.EN XI:328), slow to anger, and rich in compassion even with those who are not faithful time and again. 

10 March 2024
Fourth Sunday of Lent (B)
2 Chron 36, 14-16. 19-23; Eph 2, 4-10; Jn 3, 14-21