Scripture: 1st Reading: Num21,4-9; Resp. Psalm: Ps102,1-2,15-20; Gospel: Jn8,21-30
Complaints, ingratitude, rebellion, stubbornness, hardness of heart, disobedience, deafness to commands, blindness to see the marvels and interventions of God all have one end: disaster! This is why the word of God cautions us strongly today to take a second look at our lives and beat a quick retreat.
Yahweh treated and dealt with His people with a preferential love. He took them out of Egypt with a mighty hand. No arm of their own won them that victory. No armory won them the battle because they even had none anyway. Yahweh proved to them and the Egyptians that He would not sit and look without intervening to end the sufferings of His people. He did exactly as He promised.
Today we hear the same people complaining against Yahweh and saying they Yahweh gave them worthless food which they loathed. This so called worthless food was the manna, the food that Yahweh "prepared" every day in heaven to give His people to eat. They complained that Yahweh brought them to the wilderness to die.
For their ingratitude, insults and rebellion, Yahweh sent fiery serpents among them to bite them to death. This was the wage they paid for their sins. But Yahweh relented when they repented and cried to Him. Moses was asked to make a bronze serpent and put it on a standard as a sign. If "a serpent bit any man, he would look at the bronze serpent and live."
That bronze serpent was the pre-announcement of the cross of our Lord, the cross of salvation. This cross would be born by the man from above, the only begotten Son of God. He would be raised on the cross that would become the standard of salvation for all believers. Today our Lord predicted that He would be raised up on that gibbet of suffering.
The cross would be the means of His transition to where He came from. Today He predicted that He was going away, that they could not come to where He was going; that they would seek Him and die in their sins. He would go back to the Father. The cross would be the instrument. He would die a shameful death in their hands.
Predicting His own sufferings and death, our Lord said: "When you have lifted up the Son of man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority but speak thus as the Father taught me. And he who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what is pleasing to him."
Let us follow Him in His words these coming days as we approach his Passover from this world to the Father. Let us feel as He felt so that we could experience the full merits of the salvation He brought for us. Let us realize that He was not of this world. He only came to this world for a purpose, a mission. His cross would bring that mission to fulfillment.
Let us pray: "Grant us, we pray, O Lord, perseverance in obeying your will, that in our days the people dedicated to your service may grow in both merit and number." Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always.