TUESDAY, FIFTH WEEK OF LENT
Reading 1: Num 21: 4-9 Punished by the bites of serpents for grumbling against Moses, the Israelites are saved by gazing upon a serpent raised on a pole.
Gospel: Jn 8: 21-30 We hear the continuation of the confrontation between Jesus and his enemies. Jesus predicts his being lifted up, but he knows that the Father has not deserted him because he always does the Father’s will.
THE CROSS: MEDICINE FOR LIFE
The episode in the first reading presents us with an example of the complaints of the Israelites against Moses and God. Here, because of their unrelenting ungrateful attitude and stubborn refusal to trust God who had done so much to prove his love for them, God decides to discipline them with venomous snakes. Now, they are in real agony and plead with Moses to pray to the Lord for relief.
Have we not, at times, found ourselves behaving like those Israelites? Do we not grumble and complaint against God’s ways? When life gets hard and troublesome, do we not try to escape from these harsh realities rather than to face them with the strength of faith? Life as we know, is a journey with a lot of difficulties and worries, that tend to provoke tough questions within. ‘Why did God allow such chaos in my life? Why can’t he just wipe away the tears from my eyes, the worries from my mind, and the sorrows from my heart? Our journey of faith is stormed with many doubts. Amidst all this chaos, God promises a way out if only we are ready to trust him.
The image of the very cause of their sickness, becomes the instrument of their healing. The serpent that bites and kills, and is also the serpent that heals and gives life. This doesn’t make sense but it is the way of the Lord. For, his ways are not our ways, his thoughts not our thoughts. God can turn the troubled situations of life, into occasions of learning and medicine for the soul.
Therefore, Jesus rightly said, “those who want to save their live will lose it, and those who lose their life will find it.” The cross that took away the life of Christ is the same cross which brought life for the world, life in abundance. And it is this same cross, the symbol of suffering, that proclaims most powerfully the unconditional love of God.
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 102: 2-3, 16-21 : O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you.
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