Today’s first reading from Numbers 21 tells us the story of God sending saraph serpents among the people of Israel, who had become terrible whiners. God then commands Moses to make a bronze serpent and mount it on a pole. Whenever someone looked up at the serpent, they would be healed and live. In the Gospel reading from John 8, Jesus talks about the Son of Man being lifted up.”When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM.”
Amazing how our lives parallel those of the Israelites. God has done so many awesome things for us, yet we, like them, tend to whine about the things that we don’t have. And so, as the serpents went about biting the people, so, too, do we let the serpent (Satan) bite us. Then there is the final parallel. Remember that the people of Israel had only to look up (at the bronze serpent in this case) and they would live. The same is true for us. When we look up (at the Son of Man), we, too will live.
There are a couple of ways that I see this. When we look up at Jesus on the pole (the cross), we see our salvation. But I also see a parallel here at every Mass. When the priest “lifts up” the host, we must realize that we are looking up at I AM. We should recognize that we are looking at our salvation. The Author of Life, the Alpha and the Omega. This always reminds of a saying of one of my heroes, Zig Ziglar. Zig used to say, “When you don’t like the outlook, try the up-look.”
Father, thank you for giving us the antidote to our own selfishness and sinfulness, the Son of Man, lifted up for us. Help us to concentrate on the up-look, that we may live. Amen.
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