Every day, we need to go to our quiet place...

Today's Scriptural Meditation Readings:

September 14, A.D. 2008

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:

Numbers 21:4b-9
Psalm 78:1bc-2, 34-35, 36-37, 38
Philippians 2:6-11
John 3:13-17

A reflection on today's Scripture:

Today is a major feast day, so it replaces the regular Sunday readings.

It all started when St. Helena, the mother of the Roman emperor, Constantine, found the actual wooden cross on which Jesus was crucified. The soldiers had thrown it in a ditch and covered it over with stones and dirt. It was placed in a new Church of the Holy Sepulcher on Sept. 14th, 325 A.D. Since the 7th century, the whole Church has celebrated this feast.

Why do we use the word "exaltation"? The readings for the day tell us why. The Book of Numbers tells us the story of the Israelites in the desert, grumbling because of the long journey, and losing faith in God. They are punished with poisonous snake bites. God relents, and tells Moses to make a bronze copy of a poisonous snake, and mount it on a pole. Whoever looks at this snake will be cured! (Even today, snakebite is cured by an anti-body made from the venom of a similar snake).

In the Gospel, Jesus uses this story to foretell his death. He tells Nicodemus, ". . . 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."

None of us can count the times we have gazed at the body of Christ on a crucifix. Is it just a work of art? Or is to us a powerful symbol of Christ's love for us in emptying Himself of his divinity so that he could take on "sinful flesh"? Can our faith allow His eyes to penetrate our hearts and let Him dissolve any lingering sinful desires? How many times have we let the power of His sacred Blood pour over our sins to forgive them?

In fact, gazing in faith on the suffering Jesus is the only effective way we will ever understand our own suffering and pain. Through the ages, millions have been healed of anger and resentment that God would allow so many to suffer from physical and moral evil. His cross is the only answer.

Today as we gaze at Jesus lifted up for our sins, we fervently thank God for His mercy that brought us such a loving Friend to die once that we might live forever. Gazing at Christ, lifted high on the Cross, may we grow out of resentment to suffering, to gratitude for His love.

- Msgr. Paul Whitmore |
email: pwhitmore29 (at) yahoo (dot) com

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Lives of the saints:

Full Scripture text from today's Liturgy of the Word:


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