Daily Reflection
April 3rd, 2001
Tom Shanahan, S.J.
Rector, Jesuit Community
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Numbers 21:4-9
Psalms 102:2-3, 16-18, 19-21
John 8:21-30

The continuity between what Christians call the “Old” Testament and the New Testament comes out in the readings for today.  The central image for this continuity is the notion of being “raised up” as was the serpent on a pole in the Book of Numbers and the figure of Christ on the Cross in John’s Gospel.  Both are experiences of God’s healing.

First, the Israelites are healed from the bites of the serpents when the bronze image of the seraph-serpent is raised up on a pole; they need only look at the image and they will recover.  Then, the gospel assures us that the sins of all are healed when Jesus is raised up on the cross.  

Our meditation today during this season of Lent helps us to recall the goodness of God as God offers healing in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  We know the centrality of the cross in our salvation.  God continues to heal and to save us.  Now, it is not from the bites of serpents, but from the gash of sin on our human escutcheon.  

Indeed ours is a saving and a healing God.  Where do I need God’s healing right now in my life?  What are those areas of my life that need to be touched by God’s healing?  Can I open myself to that godly healing as the disgruntled Israelites did when they looked on the poled seraph and others did when they looked on Jesus on the cross?  

I need to be reminded that the healing God offers is not a once-and-for-all reality that happened in a long-distant past, but is part of an ongoing process that involves opening myself in faith to a loving, merciful, and healing God as God comes to me right now.  The grace for me today is to look at myself and to look at Christ raised up on a cross and receive his healing. 

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