4th Sunday of Lent B
We’ve all heard of St. Francis of Assisi.
Lepers repulsed him, but he came to life like never before
by our Lord’s mercy when he embraced one.
A young couple suffered profoundly because of their sterility,
but later found themselves mysteriously thankful
for the very crisis that led them to an adopted child.
This little one brings such joy to their lives,
and who so needed the love that was present in their marriage:
I am referring to a healing and sacrificial love
that was deepened by their suffering.
The Israelites experienced this mysterious suffering in the desert.
The bronze serpent in the desert is a strange symbol.
Poisonous serpents were killing the Israelites,
so how could healing come through an image
that evoked suffering and death?
In the gospel, Jesus compares this image to himself,
“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert,
so must the Son of Man be lifted up.”
The cross looks like the victory of evil;
but in Christ Jesus it is the victory of his love for all of us.
The love of our Lord Jesus is present
at the very core of his sacrificial suffering,
and shows itself to be indestructible
and eternally healing in the resurrection.
Sacrificial love wants the best for someone at any cost to ourselves.
Jesus anticipated, longed for the healing of mankind’s soul
that his lifting up on the cross would bring.
Remember his words on the cross, “I thirst.”
He longed to carry our cross,
for as any mother or father suffers more than their children,
so Jesus suffers more for all of us.
This greater Love for another person then for oneself is God.
God is this sacrificial love we have for each other.
It is the only love that saves.
Why was Jesus lifted on the cross?
“So that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”
Our sacrificial love for someone is the bronze serpent,
the cross of Jesus
that every evil in this world must bend its knee.
For us, it is the death of evil and our journey to eternal life
Never fear my friends to go through this narrow door,
this narrow gate for someone.
May the love of Jesus on his cross with us
help us to never lose hope in life,
even in the midst of suffering and death.
Because when we suffer for love of someone there is always resurrection.
St. Francis contribution: Father Richard Veras