Thursday, September 14, 2006

Bitten by the snake: The Exaltation of the Holy Cross

At Mass today, I finally realized the connection between the First Reading (Numbers 21:4-9) and the Gospel (John 3-13-17). And it took me two sermons to get it! (My parish celebrated today's Feast last Sunday as its titular day.)

I mean, I knew that Jesus, in talking to Nicodemus, compared Himself to the bronze serpent on a pole...the one Moses made, at the Lord's command, to save those who were bitten by snakes sent to punish the complaining Chosen People.

But why would Jesus compare Himself to a bronze serpent of all things???

The connection is in Genesis.

The Fall of man came about by his free submission to the temptation offered by Satan...that old snake in the grass. The result? Original Sin and death.

It was only through the Cross that each of us -- and we've all been "bitten" by that snake -- could be cured...redeemed.

Do more than just look upon a Crucifix today and every day. Thank Jesus -- God made Man -- for emptying Himself out and submitting Himself to an ignominious, shameful death for the love of each one of us. For saving us from the deadly snake bite.

We adore Thee, O Christ and we praise Thee, Because by Thy Holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world!