A reading from the holy Gospel according to John 3:13-17
The Son of Man must be lifted up.
Jesus said to Nicodemus:
‘No one has gone up to heaven
except the one who came down from heaven,
the Son of Man who is in heaven;
and the Son of Man must be lifted up
as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert,
so that everyone who believes
may have eternal life in him.
Yes, God loved the world so much
that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost
but may have eternal life.
For God sent his Son into the world
not to condemn the world,
but so that through him the world might be saved.’
Through the eyes of the resurrection we can see the cross of Jesus as the triumph of love over hatred, of Jesus’ love over the hatred of his enemies, of God’s love over the hateful rejection of his Son. This is how John in his gospel understood the cross of Jesus. It was the glorious revelation of God’s love for the world, in the language of today’s gospel reading. Jesus himself says that a man has no greater love than to lay down his life for his friends. We venerate the cross because it is a powerful manifestation of a love that is greater than any human love. That is why the earliest Christians tended to depict the crucified Jesus as a glorious Christ with arms outstretched reigning in love from the cross. Today we celebrate a triumph in which we all share. We are all embraced by the love of God that shines through Christ crucified. The cross has become good news for us. Saint Paul in his letter to the Romans expressed that good news very simply and very powerfully, ‘God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners, Christ died for us’.
The Word of God is Living and Active by Martin Hogan and published by Messenger Publications