Dear Parish Family:
The Holy Gospel according to John, chapter 3 verse 16 and following… This is perhaps the best known pair of verses in the whole of Scripture: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.”
Slightly less well known are the verses immediately preceding these… verses that speak of the crucifixion of Christ: “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.”
Moses lifted up the bronze serpent on a pole at the command of God as a remedy for the punishment they were receiving for having turned against God and Moses; they were despairing of their deliverance and rejecting the gifts of God.
Just as the saraph was a remedy for sin that saved the physical lives of the Hebrews, so, too, is the crucifixion of Our Lord and Savior a remedy for sin that saves the soul. And just as the use of the saraph was made necessary because the Hebrews sinned, so, too, is the Crucifixion necessary because all people are sinners. God so loved the world that he gave His only Son. Jesus was given as a remedy for our sinful nature.
And just as the Hebrews looked upon the saraph with their physical eyes for the physical healing, so, too, must we look on Our Lord crucified with our spiritual eyes for the healing of our souls. I invite you to look on the Crucifix during Mass and see it not merely with your physical eyes, but with your spiritual eyes, also. See the spiritual mystery that it contains.
When we truly see in a spiritual way the beauty of the Cross and of Christ’s sacrifice for us, we can begin to grasp that which can never be fully understood: the infinite depth of God’s love for us and the terrible price He paid for us, His unworthy children. Authentically seeing in a spiritual sense the beauty and the mystery, the majesty and the horror of the Crucifixion is the beginning of a true exultation of the Holy Cross.