As we approach Holy Week, the readings from John's Gospel reflect the increasing pressure that was put upon Jesus by the elders, scribes and Pharisees. They were marking His every word and deed.
Today's first reading tells the story of God sending serpents as punishment for their insolence during their sojourn in the desert. God instructs Moses to make a bronze serpent and mount it on a pole, and to be healed, the people simply needed to look up at the figure on the pole. This is a prefigurement of Christ on the cross.
In the Gospel reading, Jesus says, "For if you do not believe that I AM..." and 'then you will realize that I AM..." Of course, He is revealing the fact that He is God, come to earth. What we now take for granted was scandalous to the people of the time - and still is scandalous today. For just as then, many now cannot accept it.
Father, may all come to believe in Jesus and I AM, and live according to His words. Amen.
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