FEAST OF THE EXALTATION OF THE HOLY CROSS
Psalter: Proper / (Red)
Ps 78:1bc-2, 34-35, 36-37, 38
Do not forget the works of the Lord!
1st Reading: Num 21:4b-9
From Mount Hor they set out by the Red Sea road to go around the land of Edom. The people were discouraged by the journey and began to complain against God and Moses, “Why have you brought us out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is neither bread nor water here and we are disgusted with this tasteless manna.”
Yahweh then sent fiery serpents against them. They bit the people and many of the Israelites died. Then the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, speaking against Yahweh and against you. Plead with Yahweh to take the serpents away.”
Moses pleaded for the people and Yahweh said to him, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a standard; whoever has been bitten and then looks at it shall live.”
So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a standard. Whenever a man was bitten, he looked towards the bronze serpent and he lived.
2nd Reading: Phil 2:6-11
Though he was in the form of God, he did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking on the nature of a servant, made in human likeness, and appeared as a man.
He humbled himself by being obedient, to death, death on the cross.
That is why God exalted him and gave him the name which outshines all names, so, that, at the name of Jesus all knees should bend in heaven, on earth and among the dead, and all tongues proclaim, that Christ Jesus is the Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Gospel: Jn 3:13-17
No one has ever gone up to heaven except the one who came from heaven, the Son of Man. As Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
Yes, God so loved the world that he gave his only Son that whoever believes in him may not be lost, but may have eternal life. God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world; instead, through him the world is to be saved.
In the Gospel of John, the verb “believe” appear eighty-four times. The Johannine author stresses the significance of faith in the life of a follower of Jesus Christ. What is the nature of this “belief” without which we may be lost or unable to live life to the fullest? Is faith synonymous with strict adherence to a doctrine or dogma? A warm feeling in the heart? A rational discourse about faith? A decision made of free will? A gift of the Holy Spirit?
To begin, to “believe” is not simply a mental exercise, but “an all-embracing relationship, an attitude of love and trust in God.” The connection between God and humanity is central to the notion of faith. Immediately prior to this text, the encounter takes place between Jesus and Nicodemus. Their conversation concludes with Jesus asking a question of Nicodemus, a question that hangs between them, unanswered: “If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things?” (John 3:12). Nicodemus is grappling with his relationship with Jesus. He is not ready to trust. He is doubting him. The call is to grow in a dynamic relationship with Jesus as we witness the truth of his love and the power of mercy in his dealing with the sinners and the outcasts. In a vacuum, devoid of merciful love, we perish in our own self-righteousness and self-sufficiency. To search for eternal life and to finally dwell in God’s loving gaze, we need to search the living water, the light of the world, the good shepherd who tends the sheep, who beckons us to love grandly and gratuitously. Just as our bodies require water to live, to avoid perishing, so our souls thirst for the living water, the relationship with the God of life.
Daily Reflection 2018
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Biblical Texts are taken from Christian Community Bible, Catholic Pastoral Edition (57th Edition) The New English Translation for the ROMAN MISSAL
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