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Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross

Submitted by on Wednesday, 14 September 2011No Comment


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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John 3:13-17
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13And no man hath ascended into heaven, but he that descended from heaven, the Son of man who is in heaven.
14And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of man be lifted up:
15That whosoever believeth in him, may not perish; but may have life everlasting.
16For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting.
17For God sent not his Son into the world, to judge the world, but that the world may be saved by him.
Numbers 21:4
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4And they marched from mount Hor, by the way that leadeth to the Red Sea, to compass the land of Edom. And the people began to be weary of their journey and labour:
Zechariah 12:10
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10And I will pour out upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace, and of prayers: and they shall look upon me, whom they have pierced: and they shall mourn for him as one mourneth for an only son, and they shall grieve over him, as the manner is to grieve for the death of the firstborn.
Zechariah 13:1
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1In that day there shall be a fountain open to the house of David, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem: for the washing of the sinner, and of the unclean woman.
Philippians 2:6-11
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6Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7But emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and in habit found as a man.
8He humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross.
9For which cause God also hath exalted him, and hath given him a name which is above all names:
10That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth:
11And that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father.

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