Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross
The Lifting Up of the Son of Man
The theme of today’s gospel is the lifting up of the Son of Man (John 3:13-17). In John, that phrase refers to the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. It is prefigured by the bronze serpent that Moses lifted up in the desert (Numbers 21:4b-9). In John’s account of the Passion and Death of Jesus, the evangelist combines this text from Numbers with Zechariah 12:10.13:1. "They shall look on him whom they have pierced" says Zechariah, just as in Numbers, the wounded looked upon the bronze serpent and were healed. Jesus’ heart pierced by a lance gave forth water and blood, the "fountain that purifies from sin and uncleanness" (Zechariah 13:1)
The self-emptying of Christ on the cross is highlighted in the second reading which is taken from Philippians 2:6-11. Jesus renounced the "form" (morphe) of God that Adam tried to grab in the garden by eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Rather , he emptied himself taking on the "form" (morphe) of a "Servant", and he was "obedient, obedient even unto death." It was because of this self-emptying and utter obedience as Son that he inherited the name above every other name: "LORD".
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