September 14, 2021

Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

“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.”

To my mind, this is one of the strangest passages in the New Testament. The incident Jesus refers to took place during the desert wandering of the Israelites. Their grumbling led to many being bitten by vipers, resulting in numerous deaths. Moses was told to make a brass snake and put it on a pole. Anyone bitten could then look at the snake, and they would not die. This snake was subsequently placed in the Temple. So many people were beginning to worship it, however, that King Hezekiah had it destroyed. A strange story indeed.

And yet, Jesus latched on to this incident to give meaning to his own being lifted on the cross. This tells me three main things. First, that Jesus did not look forward to dying, especially death by crucifixion. He dreaded it. Second, the thought of his suffering caused him to comb through the Old Testament to look for something to give it meaning. He found it in this brass snake. Third, that he hoped that we would contemplate him on the cross with faith and love. This would not only be life-giving for us, but it would assure him that he did not die in vain.

Our prayer of adoration, especially when the Blessed Sacrament is exposed, is our moment to stand or kneel before the monstrance and allow ourselves to be filled with gratitude for the sacrifice of Christ. It should also make us realize both the horror of sin and keep us faithful to the life his death has given us.

How can I thank the Christ today for his dying for me?

Let Us Pray:

Dear Jesus, you willingly gave your life that we might live. Deepen my appreciation for the magnitude of this gift, and help me to render proper thanks by my life and how I treat my fellow men and women, seeing you in them.


Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)
To receive the Daily Eucharistic Reflection in your email, please contact Director, CEE [cee@blessedsacrament.com]


About Paul J. Bernier, SSS

Blessed Sacrament Father Paul J. Bernier served for many years as the editor of Emmanuel. He is a popular writer, preacher, and director of retreats. Among his many published works is Ministry in the Church: A Historical and Pastoral Approach, Second Edition, published by Orbis Books in 2015. His most recent book is A Eucharistic Spirituality: Inspired by Saint Peter Julian Eymard – Apostle of the Eucharist, which he co-authored with Jim Brown.