Word of the day
Reading of the day
First reading from the Book of Numbers
With their patience worn out by the journey,
the people complained against God and Moses,
“Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in this desert,
where there is no food or water?
We are disgusted with this wretched food!”
In punishment the LORD sent among the people saraph serpents,
which bit the people so that many of them died.
Then the people came to Moses and said,
“We have sinned in complaining against the LORD and you.
Pray the LORD to take the serpents from us.”
So Moses prayed for the people, and the LORD said to Moses,
“Make a saraph and mount it on a pole,
and if any who have been bitten look at it, they will live.”
Moses accordingly made a bronze serpent and mounted it on a pole,
and whenever anyone who had been bitten by a serpent
looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.
Second reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Philippians
Brothers and sisters:
Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God something to be grasped.
Rather, he emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
coming in human likeness;
and found human in appearance,
he humbled himself,
becoming obedient to death,
even death on a cross.
Because of this, God greatly exalted him
and bestowed on him the name
that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that
Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Gospel of the day
From the Gospel according to John
Jesus said to Nicodemus:
“No one has gone up to heaven
except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man.
And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert,
so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world might be saved through him.
Words of the Holy Father
When we gaze on the crucifix, we think about the Lord who suffers, and all of that is true. But let us pause a moment in order to arrive at the centre of that truth: at this moment You seem to be the greatest sinner. You made Yourself sin. We need to make it a habit of looking at the crucifix in this light, which is the truest, it is the light of redemption. In Jesus made sin we see the utter defeat of Christ. He did not pretend to die, He did not pretend to suffer, alone, abandoned… “Father, why have you forsaken me?” (Mt 27:46; Mk 15:34). It is not easy to understand this and if we think about it, we will never arrive at a conclusion. We can only contemplate, pray, and give thanks. (Santa Marta, 31 March 2020)