At Least the Cross
Fifth Tuesday of Lent
Dom Drumore – Sydney DOJ
“When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know I am He.”
We instinctively interpret ‘lifted up’ in relation to His eventual crucifixion, which is of course what He was talking about, but I have no doubt this would have bewildered His listeners, entirely unaware of what God was to do in their midst. Christ’s coming Passion would be utterly foreign, even outrageous and scandalous, as we see elsewhere in Peter’s reaction to the news. I think it’s fascinating that here He declares it is specifically through His sacrificial death on the Cross that they will understand who He is. In this, we should hear Him speaking to us also: “this is how I show you who I am: Love.”
We could talk about the theological significance of the bronze serpent on the cross in the First Reading, and how Christ nails sin and death to the Cross by His offering, and unpack what that means for us. But I would rather appreciate the fact that, before the Pharisees and a whole crowd, Christ both declares His divinity and tells them they will die in their sins if they do not believe… and for most, their reaction is not outrage nor worship, as though they haven’t even registered His words, listened to His voice. What more will it take? Surely, at least His death on the Cross for our sins is enough for us to listen to Him?
1st Reading: Numbers 21.4-9
Gospel: John 8.21-30