Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Lent
Reading 1 Nm 21:4-9
Gospel Jn 8:21-30
So Jesus said to them, "When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM, and that I do nothing on my own, but I say only what the Father taught me. The one who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, because I always do what is pleasing to him."
When we hear Jesus speak of being "lifted up" or referring to himself as "I AM" in John's Gospel, he is using Old Testament language from the Torah or the Prophets to help the church come to faith in him in the light of his death and resurrection. One might say he is waiting for the 'lightbulb to go on' even with the Pharisees and scribes. But with that particular group the lightbulb never goes on and their hearts remain hardened against him. Let it not be so with us.
Today's scriptures also features powerful images of the Serpent and the Cross: Israel’s sin, symbolized by the serpent with its venemous bite, is changed into an instrument of salvation. God instructed Moses to make a bronze serpent and mount it on a pole, so that all who looked upon it after admitting their sin and repenting were cured by the Lord.
Saint Paul wrote: “For our sake God made the sinless one to be sin, so that in him we might become the very holiness of God” (2 Cor 5:21) in reference to Christ on the cross. His crucifixion removes the venom of our sin from us. Let us look upon Him whom they pierced and repent and be saved.
The Season of Lent is a special time for us to slow down, look inward and make the necessary changes to truly become an Easter people.