Posted by: livingscripture | March 22, 2009

Fourth Sunday of Lent

From the Word of the Day

 

Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that all who believe may have eternal life in him.  (John 3, 14-15)

 

How should we live this Word

 

When the Israelites lived in the desert and poisonous snakes were biting them, God told Moses to lift up a bronze serpent on a pole.  Whoever looked upon it would be cured.  The expression that opens up the depths of this passage is, ‘the Son of Man must be lifted up’.  When we correlate it with ‘Moses lifted up the serpent’, we see the radical reversal of two situations, that of sinful humanity and that of infinite innocence in Jesus.  Because ‘God so loved the word He gave His only Son’, Jesus took upon Himself the curse and all the shame of our sin.  ‘Cursed is the one who hangs on a cross’ (Deut. 21, 23 and Gal. 3, 13). 

 

But it is precisely this abasement into ignominy through limitless love that Jesus was ‘raised up in glory’ and ascended db_33-crucifixion11into Heaven.  If we gaze upon Him with a faith of operative love, we too will be reintegrated into our true nature as children, snatched away from shame and fear, a new people because we are loved and called to love.   We will be ‘raised up’, elevated, and made participants in the divine nature.       

 

Today in my pause for silent contemplation, I will fix my gaze on Jesus raised up on the Cross.  I will reflect on this contrast:  the abasement from His divine condition to the opprobrium of the cross and His being raised up as the Crucified and Risen One.  I will pray:

 

O Jesus, raised up to the glory of the cross, teach me the glory of humble love.

 

The voice of Enrico Suso, mystic

 

My unfathomable love is demonstrated in the great bitterness of my passion, as the sun manifests its splendor, as the beautiful rose, its perfume, and as the powerful fire its ardent heat.  Listen therefore with devotion to how much love I have suffered for you.


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