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».
The exaltation of Cross has its meaning and senses, only if it is connected to the resurrection and to our salvation. God Himself will never propose the suffering and pain to us. But transforms our pains and sufferings into joy.
Jesus has taken the cross not to suffer, but to demonstrate to the sinful world, how much God loves us and to what extant God could go for our joy. It is in this love that He took the Cross.
Many of us carry lots of crosses and Jesus has asked us to carry our own crosses to have eternal life. Let us take them with courage, hoping towards the resurrection. Those who find difficult to accept certain crosses both present or past, let us surrender them to Jesus and ask Him His grace to transform them as a moment of grace.
Daily Quote from the early church fathers:
Story of Moses and the bronze serpent, by Cyril of Alexandria (376-444 AD)
"This story is a type of the whole mystery of the incarnation. For the serpent signifies bitter and deadly sin, which was devouring the whole race on the earth... biting the Soul of man and infusing it with the venom of wickedness. And there is no way that we could have escaped being conquered by it, except by the relief that comes only from heaven. The Word of God then was made in the likeness of sinful flesh, 'that he might condemn sin in the flesh' (Romans 8:3), as it is written. In this way, he becomes the Giver of unending salvation to those who comprehend the divine doctrines and gaze on him with steadfast faith. But the serpent, being fixed upon a lofty base, signifies that Christ was clearly manifested by his passion on the cross, so that none could fail to see him." (excerpt from COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF JOHN 2.1)
«So that whoever believes in him may have eternal life»
Fr. Antoni CAROL i Hostench
(Sant Cugat del Vallès, Barcelona, Spain)
Today, the Gospel is a prophecy, that is, a glance into the mirror of reality that plunges us in its truth, far beyond what our own senses tell us: the Cross, the Holy Cross of Jesus Christ is the Saviour's Throne. That is why Jesus asserts, «the Son of man must be lifted up» (Jn 3:14).
We do know the Cross was the most ignominious and heinous torture of its time. To exalt the Holy Cross would therefore be some sort of cynical joke, was it not because the Crucified is hanging on it. The cross, without the Redeemer, is sheer cynicism; but with the Son of man the Cross is the new tree of Wisdom. By «freely submitting himself to the passion» of the Cross, Jesus Christ has opened the substance and purpose for our lives: to be lifted up with him to the Holy Cross to fling open our arms and our heart to God's heavenly gift, in an admirable exchange. Here too, we must listen to the Father's voice that came from the heavens: «You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased» (Mk 1:11). To be crucified with Jesus and resurrect with him: that is the reason for it all! There is hope, there is a meaning, and there is life! We are not mad when, we Christians, during the Paschal Vigil, in a most solemn way, that is, in the Easter Proclamation, sing a hymn of praise to the original sin: «O happy fault! O necessary fault of Adam, which gained for us so great a Redeemer!», who, through his pain has infused a new “significance” to pain.
«See the tree of the cross, where the Saviour of the world was crucified: come and venerate it» (Good Friday Liturgy). If we manage to overcome the scandal and insanity of Christ crucified there is nothing else for us to do but to worship him and be grateful for his Gift. And to decidedly seek the Holy Cross in our own life, to fill us up with the certainty that, «through him, with him and in him», our donation will be transformed, in the hands of the Father, for the Holy Spirit, in eternal life: «Shed for you and for all men in the remission of sins».