The Exaltation of the Holy Cross - Feast

Saint John 3:13-17
by Daily Gospel | Source: Daily Gospel
Book of Numbers 21:4b-9.
From Mount Hor they set out on the Red Sea road, to by-pass the land of Edom. But with their patience worn out by the journey,
the people complained against God and Moses, "Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in this desert, where there is no food or water? We are disgusted with this wretched food!"
In punishment the LORD sent among the people saraph serpents, which bit the people so that many of them died.
Then the people came to Moses and said, "We have sinned in complaining against the LORD and you. Pray the LORD to take the serpents from us." So Moses prayed for the people,
and the LORD said to Moses, "Make a saraph and mount it on a pole, and if anyone who has been bitten looks at it, he will recover."
Moses accordingly made a bronze serpent and mounted it on a pole, and whenever anyone who had been bitten by a serpent looked at the bronze serpent, he recovered.

Psalms 78(77):1-2.34-35.36-37.38.

A maskil of Asaph. Attend, my people, to my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth in story, drawing lessons from of old.
When he slew them, they began to seek him; they again inquired of their God.
They remembered that God was their rock, God Most High, their redeemer.

But they deceived him with their mouths, lied to him with their tongues.
Their hearts were not constant toward him; they were not faithful to his covenant.
But God is merciful and forgave their sin; he did not utterly destroy them. Time and again he turned back his anger, unwilling to unleash all his rage.

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John 3:13-17.

Jesus said to Nicodemus : "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 might 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.

Commentary of the day

A Greek homily of the 4th century
On the holy Paschal mystery, 51, 63 ; PG 59, 743, SC 27 (inspired by a lost  sermon of Hippolytus)

"No one has gone up to heaven except the one who has come down from heaven"

The tree of the cross is for me the tree of eternal salvation. It feeds me and I feast upon it. With its roots am I rooted and with its branches I stretch out my arms. It's sap cleanses me and its breeze, like a fragrant wind, makes me fruitful. Beneath its shadow I have set up my tent and, escaping the terrible heat, I find there a haven of coolness. It is with its flowers that I myself blossom and with its fruit that I take my greatest delight. Yes, those fruits were kept for me from the beginning and I enjoy them without end... When I tremble before God, this tree gives me shelter; when I waver, it is my stay. It is the price of my battles and the prize of my victories; it is my narrow way, steep path, Jacob's ladder where angels ascend and descend and at whose top the Lord is supported indeed (Mt 7,14; Gn 28,12).

This tree of heavenly dimensions has been raised up from earth to sky; it is an immortal plant, set between heaven and earth. Upholding all things, bearing the universe, support of the inhabited world, it embraces the cosmos and gathers together the diverse elements of human nature. For itself, it is assembled of the invisible planks of the Spirit that it may not waver in its conformity to the divine. Touching the heights of heaven with its top, grounding the earth with its feet, and encircling with its great arms the innumerable spaces of the atmosphere, it is wholly in all and around all...

It would have been of no account that the universe was blotted out, melted with terror before the Passion, if our great Jesus had not infused the divine Spirit in it when he said: «Father, into your hands I commend my Spirit» (Lk 23,46)... Everything was shattered, yet when the divine Spirit rose again the universe was re-animated after a fashion, brought back to life and recovered the firmness of its stability. God filled everything, everywhere, and the crucifixion penetrated all things.

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