Tuesday of the Fifth Week in Lent
Numbers 21:4-9 — John 8:21-30
March 23, 2010
Scripture readings from Holy Mass: CLICK HERE
Verse for Recollection throughout the Day:
“When you lift up /
the Son of Man /
then you will realize that /
In these reflections mention has been made of “types”: in theology, a type foreshadows some future person, thing or event. In Catholic theology, most typology consists of Old Testament types that foreshadow Christ. Today’s First Reading offers one of the more intriguing set of types.
The bronze serpent is Christ. That might seem a strange analogy (or typology, to be more accurate), but as with all good theology, consider the context. The pole is the Cross. Moses is those who, believing they follow the Law, put Christ on the Cross (“When you lift up the Son of Man…”).* The mounting of the serpent on the pole is the Crucifixion.
Now we begin to see that the First Reading’s typology illustrates what Saint Paul describes through abstract—though nonetheless real—ideas: “For our sake [the Father] made him to be sin who did not know sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). These two forms of theology—using typology, and using abstract ideas—are not in conflict, but illuminate each other.
But wait a minute. The last phrase of Saint Paul’s words reminds us that there is one more element of our First Reading’s typology: “…whenever anyone who had been bitten by a serpent looked at the bronze serpent, he recovered.” What do we see in this? Hopefully, ourselves. Mankind itself is “anyone who had been bitten by a serpent”, since we all descend from Adam and Eve, who ate of the Tree at the encouragement of the serpent.** First we have to recognize ourselves in this description, and then we can have hope that the latter part of this sentence also applies to us.
Those who “looked at the bronze serpent, and lived” are those who gaze on Christ crucified with the gift of faith. Prepare for the events of the Sacred Triduum by looking into an icon of Christ crucified, by meditating on a crucifix, by praying the Stations of the Cross, and seeing your Salvation.
Do I see eternal Life when I gaze upon Jesus crucified?
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* Typology is multivalent: a single element can represent more than one thing. Moses here can also represent Jesus Himself, since Jesus consents fully to the Cross, recognizing His earthly vocation in It (“…and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” [John 12:32]).
** This type may even apply to Christ, in His human nature, and the Blessed Virgin. For it is through His human nature that Jesus “becomes sin” for the salvation of mankind. The Blessed Virgin, though she was never touched by Original Sin and never committed any actual sin, was preserved from Original Sin and aided to be able not to commit sin, only by the grace of her Son’s Death and Resurrection, whose merits God bestowed upon her preveniently. She was not preserved from all of the effects of Original Sin, as she shared intimately in her Son’s Passion at the foot of the Cross.
Please pray for these intentions:
special intention of V.
special intentions of E.
special intention of M.
special intention of L.
special intention of S.
prayers for a 16-year old, D.,
who is on the wrong path
special intention of J.
special intention of T.
special intention of R.
special intention of N.
for T. who is suffering from migraine headaches
for the gift of faith, by M.
repose of the soul of Fr. Stuchlik
special intention of Fr. Hoisington
You are invited to submit your own petitions to Father Hoisington by means of the Reflections Facebook group, or to his email address: email@example.com.