FIRST READING
Every one who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.
A reading from the Book of Numbers (Numbers 21:4b-9)

In those days: The people became impatient on the way. And the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.” Then the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many sons of Israel died. And the people came to Moses, and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it up as a sign; and every one who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” So Moses made a bronze serpent, and set it up as a sign; and if a serpent bit any man, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.

The word of the Lord.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM    Ps 78:1-2.34-35.36—37.38 (R. cf.7b)
R. Never forget the deeds of the Lord!

Give ear, my people, to my teaching;
incline your ear to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth in a parable
And utter hidden lessons of the past. R.

When he slew them, then they sought him,
repented and earnestly sought God.
They would remember that God was their rock,
God the Most High their redeemer. R.

R. Never forget the deeds of the Lord!

Yet they deceived him with their mouths;
they lied to him with their tongues.
For their hearts were not steadfast towards him;
They were not faithful to his covenant. R.

Yet he who is full of compassion
Forgave them their sin and spared them.
So often he held back his anger,
and did not stir up all his rage. R.

SECOND READING
He humbled himself, therefore God has exalted him.
A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Philippians (Philippians 2:6-11)
 
Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, 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.

The word of the Lord.

ALLELUIA
Alleluia. We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you, because by your Cross you have redeemed the world. Alleluia

GOSPEL
The Son of man must be lifted up.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to John (John 3:13-17)

At that time: Jesus said to Nicodemus, “No one has ascended into heaven but he who descended from heaven, the Son of man. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that who ever believes in him may have eternal life.” For God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that who ever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.

The Gospel of the Lord.

Today’s Reflection
The cross is the apex of love; it is the instruments on which was rewritten the horrible history of sinful humanity. We should not be afraid to look at the cross, as it is a true sign of victory against sin and death. Jesus says in today’s Gospel, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.” The cross once bore the fruits of death; today, it bears life for those who desire to savor its fruits. Fear not, therefore, to look at the cross, hang it on the doorpost of your home, office, or round your neck. We draw strength from it when the challenges and setbacks of this world outweigh us. Looking at our savior bearing our death, we triumph with and through him.

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