Posted by: livingscripture | April 10, 2018

Second Tuesday of Easter

 

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD

Second Tuesday of Easter, April 10, 2018

WORD of the DAY 

Do not be amazed that I told you, ‘You must be born from above.  The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Nicodemus answered and said to him, “How can this happen?”  Jesus answered and said to him, “You are the teacher of Israel and you do not understand this?…  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.    (John 3: 7-10, 15)

 

How shall I live this Word?

Today we have Nicodemus who goes to speak with Jesus at night.  Jesus speaks of being lifted up on the Cross.  In order to explain the theological need of the Passion and Death of the Messiah, the Son of Man, Jesus compares it to an event that happened in Israel’s history during its journey in the desert after having left Egypt.  According to the Book of Numbers, the people were attacked by deadly snakes, so Moses erected a cross with a bronze serpent on it.  Whoever looked at it, after having been bitten by a snake, would survive and be saved.  This ancient account is re-interpreted by Jesus in a sapient light, seeing in the serpent a sign of salvation.

Thus Jesus’ words are a pressing invitation to believe in the Son of Man lifted up on the cross, as the serpent was lifted up by Moses.  Those who believe in the Crucified, find salvation and life.  The basis of comparison is that in both cases, salvation comes through a ‘lifting up’.  For Jesus, this has a double meaning.  It signifies both His resurrection and His glorification.  The vision of lifting up and glorification seems humanly unbearable and only belief in Jesus allows us to perceive in it an event of the greatest Love and to also believe that the Cross is Glory and Victory!

We are far from the perspective of the Roman culture of the time of Jesus, that saw the Cross in a completely opposite way…as gloomy and dark.  Jesus transformed this instrument of horrendous death into an instrument of salvation, of glory, and of victory.

In a time of silence, I will listen like Nicodemus, to the wind of the Spirit that blows beneath the glorious cross of the Risen Jesus.

The voice of Marcus Tullius Cicero, Latin Pagan 

He defines the cross according to the parameters of the Roman culture of his time.  “The Cross is the cruelest and most horrendous punishment”.

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