Saint John 3,13-17: » The Son of Man must be lifted up.»
In today’s Gospel we see that the dialogue of Jesus with Nicodemus, which focuses on the great option, to believe or not to believe in Jesus as Messiah, is salvation or perdition. Jesus himself alludes to the serpent in the desert: «Just as Moses raised the serpent in the desert, so the Son of Man must be raised so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.» For the meaning of today’s feast is condensed in the phrase that John puts on the lips of Jesus: «God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that none of those who believe in him perish, but may have eternal life». It can be said that this feast condenses the Paschal Mystery into a single day, which encompasses renunciation, the cross, death, and ends in full life.
For Christ and for his followers, those who know how to «look» and believe in him, nailed to his Cross, as the Israelites looked at the serpent raised by Moses. Christians want to understand the mystery of the Cross. As Jesus said to the two disciples at Emmaus (and we repeat as the antiphon of the Magnificat, at Vespers), «it was necessary for the Messiah to suffer and rise from the dead to enter his glory.» The feast in honour of the Cross of Christ (or Christ of the Cross) signifies the victory of love over sin and the seriousness of the Easter journey.
Also, today we express our admiration and gratitude to Christ, for the depth of his solidarity with our pain and with our weakness and, at the same time, for the hope that his triumph gives us. Also, in our life there are moments of the cross. Not as humiliating and tragic as Christ’s, but cross. «Take up your cross every day and follow me.» Today’s party assures us that by following him, joining his route, we will reach the same destination. «He who humbles himself will be exalted.» A new world is possible, despite the tragedy of the Cross!
Today is a good day to sing, as an entrance to the Eucharist or to the Liturgy of the Hours, enthusiastic hymns that praise the Christ of the Cross: «Victory, you will reign», «O faithful cross, unique tree in nobility», » Cross of the victorious Christ «, » We adore your cross, Lord «, » We have to boast «… And, above all, it is a good day to participate with greater meaning and joy in the Eucharist under both species. In this sacrament, the Risen Lord, triumphant in his definitive life, makes us partakers of his Body given and his Blood shed, as food for this our walking and weak existence.
Peace and good
Fr. Antonio Majeesh George Kallely, OFM