Sep 14 2020 Reflection
Monday 14 September 2020
First Reading: NM 21:4B-9
Do not forget the works of the Lord!
PS 78:1BC-2, 34-35, 36-37, 38
Second Reading: PHIL 2:6-11
Gospel Reading: JN 3:13-17
Today’s Note: Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
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.
So must the Son of Man be lifted up. (John 3:14)
In the medical world, vaccines protect us from disease by training our immune system to recognize and attack a virus or bacteria. Vaccines inject antigens from the disease into our bodies—small bits, in laymen’s terms—so that we produce antibodies to fight off that disease in the future. The very thing that overpowers us and brings sickness and death now empowers us to resist and overcome it.
This is similar to what Jesus’ cross has done for us. Today, we celebrate that cross as the source of our life, our hope, and our salvation. How ironic that this instrument of death would bring us life! Yet this had happened before, as we heard in our first reading. In the time of Moses, a seraph serpent that had brought sickness and death became an instrument of healing (Numbers 21:9). In the same way, the cross of Jesus, where he was condemned, wounded, and sinned against, brings us forgiveness, healing from the wounds of sin, and freedom from death. No wonder we have a feast devoted entirely to declaring the mighty work of the cross!
The true victory of the cross is that Jesus overcame death when he rose again. So when we “lift up” the cross, we are proclaiming Jesus’ resurrection as well as his suffering and death. Without the resurrection, there would be no triumph. “If Christ has not been raised,” St. Paul says, our faith is in vain and we are still in our sins (1 Corinthians 15:17). But because Jesus both died and rose in a human body, “everyone who believes in him” can share his victory and have eternal life (John 3:15). Everyone.
Today, rejoice that Jesus died and rose—for you. Gaze upon a crucifix: the instrument of death that is now your source of strength and power. Exult that Jesus’ love is stronger than death. Lift up the cross and proclaim the victory of Jesus’ death and resurrection and watch as your faith grows stronger. Like antibodies surging through your body, the cross will bring eternal life to your soul.
“Lord, today I lift high your cross over every struggle. Strengthen my faith, my love, and my obedience.”