Jesus is the cure for He endures- Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross – Numbers 21: 4-9


Jesus is the cure for He endures- Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross – Numbers 21: 4-9

The Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, celebrated every year on September 14, recalls three historical events. The first is the discovery in AD 320, of the True Cross by Saint Helena, the mother of the Emperor Constantine. This was found under the temple of Venus in Jerusalem. The second is the dedication of the Church in 335, built by Constantine on the site of the Holy Sepulchre and Mount Calvary. The basilica was named the Martyrium, and the shrine, named the Calvarium but both were destroyed by the Persians in 614. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which now stands on the site, was built by the crusaders in 1149. Finally, the feast celebrates the restoration of the True Cross to Jerusalem by emperor Heraclius II.

But in a deeper sense, the feast also celebrates the Holy Cross as the instrument of our salvation; His salvific death on the Cross and His resurrection, through which, death was defeated and the doors to Heaven opened now to sinners.

The first reading of today, taken from the book of Numbers gives us an insight into human behaviour and God’s divine response. During their wanderings in Sinai, the Israelites suffer from a series of self-inflicted short term memory losses. They forget the goodness of God and His constant provision for their many needs (not their greed). When they were hungry He gave them manna from heaven, but they tired of the taste of these “cakes baked in oil” and demanded meat; which guess what, they got in the form of quails!

When then, would this grumbling against God stop? The serpents seem to be a just punishment for a people whose demands resemble a sushi train that constantly needs replenishment. Yet Yahweh relents with what may best be best described as a nudge, in the form of a prayer, as compared to the demands of this ‘pushy’ people.

But here is where the twist in the tale lies. God does not take away the punishment that He has sent; strangely He does not make the snakes disappear. What God does is He provides them with a healing solution to their pain and suffering. Make no mistake, the snakes are still biting; they still pose a danger and from what we understand of their description, their bite ‘burns’; what God does is give them a cure for snakebite not take away the snake. For God has a greater plan, a long term solution and He sees the bigger picture.

What then are we to understand from all this? The answer is in the Gospel of today, John 3:13-17. In answer to Nicodemus, Jesus replies, “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 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. 

Satan is that snake that never goes away. Make no mistake; God did not send or will satan. It is we, who constantly, by our turning away from God’s generosity find ourselves flirting in the shadow of sin, dancing a dangerous tango with this twisted mind of never ending traps. Satan bites and his sting of hell burns and so we cried to the Father who sent His Son, Jesus, so that who so ever believes in Him and looks at His cross with repentance, will not perish but have eternal life.

Jesus is the cure for He endures.

Fr Warner D’Souza

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6 thoughts on “Jesus is the cure for He endures- Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross – Numbers 21: 4-9”

  • Thank you Fr. for this reflection. Beautifully explained about the cross briefly, it says it all. We too are like the Israelites always in need, always asking, always complaining. Sometimes with gratitude & many a time without. It is made me aware that everything belongs to God, only the choices are us.

  • After years of watching you on You Tube (and learning so much more about the Bible than I ever knew before!) I finally have checked out your web page. Am very glad to be here.
    I owe you. You have changed my life for the better and in these two years when I have been inside and alone, you have been a daily companion and I will be able, I’m assuming, from here be able to send an occasional donation to your work.
    Your understanding of the history, language and culture is astounding, and your ability to find the exact verse among a million is also a gift.
    But I hope you stop working soon and take that sabbatical. I want to read your books of research on the word that you have yet to write! And you’re health is not good. You’ve got all the teaching “in the can” and can take a much-needed break.

    Much love, Richard Marzano in New York State, up by Canada. ‘Upstate” they call it.

  • I will visit whatsapp or whatever it is. I’m 72 and unused to this technical world. Recently a sister died and I in inherited her phone. I love Christ and am a witness but was thinking of giving up the phone.

    That was when you gave the admonition “you are not using all the technology around you to become a better witness to our Lord!”

    You seem to talk to me everyday about what’s happening in my life! It’s amazing really. But I will figure it out. I will be sending you a $200 contribution for whichever charity you wish to apply although feeding the hungry is a hobby of mine, so perhaps the St. Anthony’s table ?? is that it? would be the best place for my small offering.

    You are amazing but I want you to quit! You’ve done enough. Rest now. Get well so you can immerse yourself in your one true love: TheWord of God. I want to hear, years from now, every word you write. The Holy Spirit sits on your shoulder and is speaking to you like a whispering parrot. It’s where I get all of my best news (good news?) and most heartfelt inspiration to Love God!

    Now I will get lost in the software – look for my 200 dollars. Much love and gratitude. I will not write again. Don’t bother to answer. You’re busy!!!

  • Very well Father. There are many hungry people everywhere. I have found several.

    Please do rest.

    I do remember to pray for you and will never stop.


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