Ps 78:1bc-2, 34-38 (with 7b)
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to John.
“No one has gone up to heaven
except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man.
And 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.”
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world might be saved through him.
Good News Reflection: The Holy Cross rises above destruction
Faith is tested and strengthened in crises. Spiritual growth doesn’t normally occur in easy, comfortable times. We cannot rise to higher realms if we don’t first realize that there is something to climb away from.
We know too well the feeling of the first line in today’s first reading: Our patience has been worn out by the journey. We complain against God. While enduring trials, we complain that he should be answering our prayers faster or in a different way, because we don’t like waiting and we don’t like the extra effort it takes for our sufferings to end.
Complaints are based on hopelessness and lack of trust in God. Complaints are based on what we see with our eyes — as if we can trust our eyes to see the whole picture. Faith tells us that there is a much bigger picture than what we could know or understand. Faith tells us that God has been working a plan — his own strategies — to turn our sufferings into a greater good.
As we’re reminded in today’s Gospel passage, the cure for the disaster that befell the Israelites is our cure today. The very symbol of disaster turns out to be what saves us. May we have eyes to see the Cross of Christ lifted above the disasters that have been happening in our own lives, above our fears and grief and anger!
In every crisis, we journey through a grieving process. Discovering the triumph of the Cross over evil requires time to cry and work through all five stages:
1) Denial: Could this really be happening? Not to me, Lord!
2) Bargaining: If I pray more rosaries, maybe I can make the bad things stop.
3) Depression: I feel so empty, despairing, alone, ignored by God.
4) Anger: Those who caused this suffering should be punished. You are wrong in saying I should love them!
5) Acceptance: It happened, but God is still God. He is still ultimately in charge. He is going to make good come from this tragedy, and I want to grow because of these hardships, becoming stronger in faith and in love.
The Father gave Jesus angels who ministered to him when he took up his Cross. The Father has given you angels, too, and he has given you his Son, as well.
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Thank You, Father, for Your Son Jesus Christ, because in Him I find the strength I need to continue living. Thank You, Jesus, because through Your cross my cries are changed into joy. Amen.
© 2018 by Terry A. Modica