Letter from the Pastor
This week the Church juxtaposes two readings for our reflection: one from the Book of Numbers, and the other from the Gospel of John.
In the first reading, the Israelites in the desert near the Red Sea are complaining: the journey is too long; the scenery is boring; the food is disgusting. Complaining narrows their vision. They loose sight of the bigger picture—they are on the way to the Promised Land. When they begin to die from the seraph serpents, they see clearer and go to Moses, saying: “We have sinned in complaining against the Lord and you.”
In antiquity before Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, perhaps because each year the serpents shed their skin, ancient mythology understood the serpent as a symbol of new life—resurrection.
The Lord tells Moses: “Make a saraph and mount it on a pole, and whenever anyone who had been bitten by a serpent looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.” Jesus makes reference to this passage in this week’s other reading from the Gospel of John.
Jesus said to the racists, bigoted and hateful leaders of his time: “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM, and I do nothing on my own, but only what the Father taught me.”
Later when Jesus arrived and found Lazarus dead, he says to Martha: “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.”
In this time of the Great Pause because of covid-19, let us not narrow our focus. Let us keep our vision clearly on the one whom they raised up on the wood of the cross. “O happy fault…which gained for us so great a Redeemer!”