Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross - Cycles A,B ,C
September 14, 2014
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First Reading:Numbers 21:4-9
Second Reading:Philippians 2:6-11 Gospel Reading: John 3:13-17
- The Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross celebrates the finding of the Cross by St. Helena in Jerusalem in AD 320. The Cross is celebrated by Christians as a sign of salvation and victory over evil in which we see the love of God revealed in the giving of his Son who allowed himself to be crucified for our sake (Philippians 2:6ff).
- In today’s Gospel, Jesus has been discussing with the Pharisee Nicodemus the necessity of being born again (that is, from above, spiritually) through baptism.
- Nicodemus, a teacher of the Jewish Law, who should know all these things, is perhaps engaging in the sin of intellectual pride. Jesus, therefore, uses an example from the Law (Numbers 21:4-9, our first reading) to explain how he is the fulfillment of the Law.
- What does the first reading (Numbers 21:4-9) have to do with verses 14-15 of today’s reading (see CCC 2130)? What was the serpent in the wilderness? What happened to those who looked on the serpent? How will Jesus be “lifted up” (John 8:28; 12:32)? What happens to those who look to him?
- Why does it say that God sent his only Son (verses 16-17)? What did God send his Son to do? What did God not send his Son to do? How should the expression “eternal life” be understood in John? If eternal life means life together with God, what does “perish” mean? When does eternal life begin (verses 10:10; 1 John 5:13)?
- How is faith (verses 15-16) to be exercised? What is the connection between belief and obedience (verse 36)? If the opposite of faith is not merely unbelief, what is it?
- What stands out in this reading? What does it tell you about Jesus? His Kingdom? What implication does it have for your life in Christ?
Catechism of the Catholic Church: §§ 440, 2129-32, 458, 679
The everlasting God has in His wisdom foreseen from eternity the cross that he now presents to you as a gift from His inmost heart. This cross He now sends you He has considered with His all-knowing eyes, understood with His divine mind, tested with His wise justice, warmed with His loving arms and weighed with His own hands to see that it not be one inch too large and not one ounce too heavy for you. He has blessed it with His Holy Name, anointed it with His grace, perfumed it with His consolation, taken one last glance at you and your courage, and then sent it to you from heaven, a special greeting from God to you, an alms of the all-merciful love of God. --St. Frances de Sales
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