Daily Reflection for Tuesday, April 05 2022
Peace and Blessings, Friends and Parishioners,
We encourage you to reflect on Tuesday’s readings at this link:
If you prefer to use your own Bible, the readings are:
First Reading: Numbers 21:4-9
Responsorial: Psalms 102:2-3, 16-18, 19-21
Gospel: John 8:21-30
Our reflection on Tuesday’s readings:
“When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM….”
A second booster shot which makes the fourth shot of the COVID-19 Vaccine regimen, is being talked about on the radio. And although I enthusiastically pursued the first, second, and booster vaccine shots last year, I am wary of getting another jab, let alone hearing the uproar from those claiming the pandemic was all a hoax anyway. What is the connection between our readings today and vaccines? A vaccine is often a modified form of the virus or infection that protects us from that same disease. Today’s readings from Numbers and the Gospel of John contain cures from symbols of their illnesses.
In our first reading from Numbers, God told Moses to make a brass sculpture of the snake biting the Israelites and mount it on a staff. God promised that if anyone bitten by the saraph serpents looked at the brass snake, they would not die. God used a snake to cure snake bites. This Rod of Asclepius, a serpent coiled around a rod, became a universal sign of healing used by emergency medical personnel even today.
In response to the question ‘Who is Francis?’ shortly after becoming Pope, he replied, ‘I am a sinner.’ If Pope Francis, whose response to the war in Ukraine was to pray and consecrate both Ukraine and Russia, is a sinner, how much more am I a sinner who has let my emotions unleash ill will on the Russian leadership? It bothers me knowing that I am a sinner, and Jesus says that the Pharisees would die in their sins. Jesus says, “That is why I told you that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins.” But Jesus also provides a way out saying; “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM….” Here Jesus is referring to being lifted on a cross, the symbol of execution and death. However, the crucifix symbolizes life and redemption of sins for us. In being raised, Jesus breaks the bond of death for us, and we are free from bondage.
Catholics continue to lift Jesus on the crucifix when we see Jesus on the Cross; we don’t see his death, but we see his love and sacrifice that saves us and helps us know Jesus as the great I AM. It is beautiful to see Catholics consume the Eucharist as they gaze lovingly up at the crucifix. The crucifix, the symbol of execution and death, is our vaccine against spiritual death. When I look up at the crucifix, I feel the love in my heart, knowing that Jesus, the great I AM loves me.
May you feel the love of Jesus in your heart today.
Peace and Blessings,
Deacon John McShea