We are well into our Lenten journey, a journey we began perhaps with high expectations of ourselves that this Lent would be soul-enhancing and spirit-renewing. I’m sure such enhancing and renewing has happened, but there may also have been moments of frustration, of questioning, of weakening, of disappointment. Such is the life-long journey of faith.
As teaching moments go, the connection between the first reading from the Book of Numbers and the Gospel from Saint John offers insights into how God responds to us when we are “worn out by the journey.” For the disgruntled Hebrews on the road to the Promised Land, it’s the sign of a bronzed serpent, which, when lifted up, offered healing and renewed confidence in God’s steadfast faithfulness. Their obedience to God’s word, announced by his servant Moses, had lifted them up out of the darkness of despair.
The image of the bronze serpent being lifted up as an invitation to healing has often been seen as a prefiguring of the crucifixion. We, too, are healed and saved by the lifting up of Jesus on the cross.
God’s Word in Jesus, the Word made Flesh, was rejected by many Jews and the Pharisees who failed to recognize his true identity and did not grasp his unique relationship with the Father. Given the limited time left to him, Jesus offers an urgent call to understanding: “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM.” We hear those words today, and our understanding of the lifting up of Jesus in glory evokes from us a public acknowledgment in prayer.
Let Us Pray:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)
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