ü Public veneration of the Holy Cross dates to the fourth century when St. Helen, the mother of emperor Constantine discovered it in Jerusalem.
ü The feast commemorates the rescue of the Holy Cross from the Persians in the seventh century.
ü The Church sings the triumph of the cross, instrument of our salvation.
FIRST READING Nm 21:4b-9
o We read that the people of Israel worn out by the journey through the desert, after crossing the sea, which led them to freedom, were exhausted by hunger and thirst.
o They ask Moses, but in some way they asked God, why have you taken us from the land of Egypt? “There, we could eat and drink.”
o Contemplating the kind of punishment they received we realize how grave was their complaint against God.
o Saraph serpents bit the people and many of them died.
o Moses intercedes for the people before God who asks him to build a pole with the bronze saraph serpent on it. Whoever was bitten by the serpent and looked at the bronze serpent lived.
o We are always told that this is the image of Jesus on the cross. Jesus himself says that to Nicodemus.
o Moses is the image of Christ the son who speaks to the Father for us.
o The serpent is also the image of the cross where Christ saves and redeems us from our sins.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Ps 78:1bc-1. 34-35.36-37.38
DO NOT FORGET THE WORKS OF THE LORD
Hearken my people to my teaching
Incline your ears to the words of my mouth
I will open my mouth in a parable
I will utter mysteries from of old.
While he slew them they sought him
And inquired after God again,
Remembering that God was their rock
And the Most High God, their redeemer.
But they flattered him with their mouths
And lied to him with their tongues
Though their hearts were not steadfast toward him
Nor were they faithful to his covenant.
But he, being merciful, forgave their sin
And destroyed them not
Oftem he turned back his anger
And let none of his wrath be roused.
This psalm sings the goodness and the forgiveness without limit of God toward his people.
Fruit of his unconditional love toward us. Love manifested in the forgiveness he gives continually.
This love manifested in Christ crucified, image of the love of God toward us.
Why do we still mistrust, why do we continue to sin, why do remain far from him?
Oh, the mystery of the human heart!
GOSPEL Jn 3:13-17
Ø No one has gone up to heaven, no one knows the things from above, only the son of man who was in the Father and has come down to reveal them to us.
Ø In the text of this conversation of Jesus with Nicodemus it mentions what we have read in the first reading about the bronze saraph serpent.
Ø Image of the cross of Christ, highest point of the revelation of the unconditional love of God for us, the cross where we find salvation.
Ø God loves the world so much that he has given his only son, so that whoever believes in him will not perish, and will have eternal life, life forever.
Ø God has not sent his son to condemn us, condemn the world, but that we may be saved by him.
Ø What a consoling revelation! God, the Trinity, loves us in such a way that they gave themselves to us so that we may enjoy his life, we may fully become his image.
Ø How hard of heart we are, to allow this revelation fill us with the same joy that Christ has, and to put fire in our heart
Ø He loves us and he has given repeated proofs, not only in the past but also in our life now, each one of us may count the moments of God intervention in our life to change it, better it, in a word to save it.
SECOND READING: Flp 2:6-11
v Jesus though he was divine wanted to be one of us, thus he appeared in our midst not as God but as man.
v He chose a simple woman for his mother, a woman from a little town in Israel and he wanted to be the carpenter of the town like Joseph, his step father was. The people of the town believed that Joseph was his father.
v This beautiful poem that we find in the letter to the Philippians, says that he emptied himself and took the form of a slave.
v Yes, we are slaves with so many ties, but we believe that we are gods, just the opposite of what the son of God did.
v “Coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance” what a beautiful sentence. Its comprehension goes beyond our human capacity to understand the mystery. I think that we will never be able to grasp fully what it means. Jesus is the human image of the invisible God who teaches us how to become the image of God, to become the son here on earth.
v He becomes obedient, that is to say, human, since human is listening and responding. Man is a vocation, someone who is called to life by God, and who responds to this call with his daily life. The Son listens to what the Father says, and obeys.
v Jesus the great prophet listens to the words that the Father pronounces in the Trinity and makes them real and audible for us on earth.
v He does that even when this fidelity entails suffering, humiliation and death.
v Death that we celebrate on Good Friday in the humiliation of calvary, the human failure of Jesus on the cross, but failure which is truly a triumph of love, who has inspired so many men and women over the centuries to give up their lives for God and their fellow men and women.
v Because he has been willing to be humiliated God has given him a name which is above any other name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bend in loving adoration and thanksgiving.
v Let us sing in awe and let us confess that Jesus is Lord for the glory of the Father.
Because we had not yet anchored in the pier when S. appeared with the same offerings as his friend, but I had been anchored already in the most holy heart of this father of ours in whom I had placed al my trust. O, who could have no other father on earth to possess the immense riches of heaven, God granted me other graces in this land of Lanzarote. We attended all the celebrations of the holy week in the church. We went to confession and received Holy Communion everyday with great favor and joy that our Lord gave me, especially on Palm Sunday, when our Lord granted me the great grace of a profound recollection. I was reflecting that the hour when we were going from the ship to the town would be approximately the time when Jesus was walking from Bethany to Jerusalem with his beloved disciples. I was immersed in this meditation thinking of what was happening in the most Holy Heart of my Divine redeemer with his sacred passion so near. And I was remembering also the tears our Lord shed upon that ungrateful city. And going on in these considerations and recollection, I suddenly felt the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ so true and real that I saw Him with the eyes of my soul more clearly than I could see Him with the eyes of my body. He walked ahead of me: at time I saw his divi9ne majesty alone, at other times, I saw him accompanied by his apostles. I think he was teaching me the way I had to walk. This vision lasted until we reached the town, leaving me very happy for having enjoyed so holy a company. All the way our Lord gave me signs of much kindness and love. Venerable María Antonia París, Foundress of the Claretrian Missionary Sister, Autobiography 155.
The first thing I did on arriving in Puerto Principe was to lead the local clergy in the Spiritual Exercises. So as not to leave the parishes unattended, I gave the Exercises in two different shifts. I rented a house big enough for all of us to live in. Then I organized one group of 20 and another of 19. We ate together and lived under the same roof day and night. Our schedule included lectures, meditations, recitation of the Divine Office, and the talks I gave. Everyone made a general confession, drew up a plan of life, and everything was put in order.
After focusing on the clergy, I turned my attention to the laity. Because the city was more than a league long, I had three missions held simultaneously for the convenience of the people. I assigned Fathers Lorenzo San Marti and Anthony Barjau to preach the mission at the church of Our Lady of Charity, at one end of town, and Father Manuel Vilaró to preach the mission at St. Anne's, at the other end of town. I myself preached the mission at Our Lady of Mercy, the largest church in town, located in the center. The mission lasted two months, August and September, and with God's help it did incalculable good. I also visited the six parishes and other churches of the town. Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 525-26.
CLARET, Antonio María Claret, Autobiografía.
PAGOLA, José A. El camino abierto por Jesús. PPC 2012
PARIS, María Antonia, Autobiografía
STOCK, Klemens. La Liturgia de la Palabra. Ciclo A (Mateo) 2007
LA BIBLIA, traducción tomada de la página web del Vaticano.
SAGRADA BIBLIA. Versión oficial de la Conferencia Episcopal Española.