The cross of salvation
Thursday, September 14, 2017
Triumph of the Cross 1st Reading: Num 21:4-9
2nd Reading: Phil 2:6-11 Gospel: John 3:13-17
Jesus said to Nicodemus, “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.”
(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)
The bronze serpent which Moses lifted up summarized the chosen peoples’ afflictions in the desert. The instruction of Moses to look upon the bronze serpent was also an invitation to the people to reflect upon their experience of crisis, examine how they contributed to their woes, and allow their afflictions to bend their will to the will of Yahweh. All those who did were healed.
That bronze serpent prefigured Jesus Christ who was later raised on a tree, crucified to bring healing to his people. When he breathed his last, a centurion who looked upon him hanging from that tree exclaimed: “Truly he is the Son of God” (Mark 15:39). While the bronze serpent brought physical healing to God’s afflicted people, Christ crucified brought healing to the soul.
The desert experience of God’s people is a good framework we can use to understand our struggles. One such struggle we cannot ignore is struggle with the environment. Nature seems to have had its last straw and is now getting back at us, oppressing us with impunity. As Moses hoisted the symbol of the peoples’ afflictions, Mother Nature is hoisting before us the symbol of our irresponsibility in the calamities that afflict us.
Mother Nature does not mean to get even with us. She only wants us to reflect and to shape up.
Through these calamities Mother Nature is inviting us to reflect on how we have provoked her.
Through prayerful reflection these calamities can become for us the bronze serpent that brings healing. But it can only bring healing if we allow the experience to reconfigure our lives to the stewardship that God had designed for us from the beginning of time. The experience should compel us to draw firm resolutions that amend our lives. Only then can God bring healing to our land.
Our struggle with the environment is just one among the many we face. When crises appear as overwhelming, let us reflect in prayer and lift Jesus up as the meaning of them all. – (Atty.) Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., DM
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