Jesus said to the Pharisees: “I am going away and you will look for me, but you will die in your sin. Where I am going you cannot come.” So the Jews said, “He is not going to kill himself, is he, because he said, ‘Where I am going you cannot come’?” He said to them, “You belong to what is below, I belong to what is above. You belong to this world, but I do not belong to this world. That is why I told you that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins.”
So they said to him, “Who are you?” Jesus said to them, “What I told you from the beginning. I have much to say about you in condemnation. But the one who sent me is true, and what I heard from him I tell the world.” They did not realize that he was speaking to them of the Father. So Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM, and that I do nothing on my own, but I say only what the Father taught me. The one who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, because I always do what is pleasing to him.” Because he spoke this way, many came to believe in him.
Lord, help me to understand your words. I use many words in my prayers and I don't even understand the meanings of my prayers. Believing in you is synonymous with believing in the cross, the cross as a path to resurrection. The cross helps me to understand the depth of your love, the love of your Father. Why, Lord, did you choose the Cross to make us understand your love? Why, Lord, the crosses of our day are difficult to bear? I try to understand the pain of your Father in your Cross and how much He would have suffered, when you cried towards Him. Why don't I understand your pain, because of my sins? Help me Lord, that I bring no cross to you and that I may learn to carry my daily crosses, Amen.
Action of the day: Learn to carry your daily cross.
“When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM”
Fr. Josep Mª MANRESA Lamarca
(Valldoreix, Barcelona, Spain)
Today, the fifth Tuesday of Lent, only one week away from the contemplation of our Lord's Passion, He invites us to look at him in anticipation while redeeming us from the Cross: “Our High Priest is Christ Jesus, his precious body is our sacrifice that He immolated on the altar of the Cross for the salvation of all people” (Saint John Fisher).
“When you have lifted up the Son of Man” (Jn 8:28). The Crucified Christ, indeed,—“lifted up” Christ!— is the great and definite sign of the Father's love towards the fallen Humankind. His open arms, stretched out between Heaven and Earth, outline the indelible sign of His friendship with us, men. By seeing Him like this, lifted up before our sinful glance, we shall realize that He is (cf. Jn 8:28), and then, as those Jews that were listening to him, we shall also believe in Him.
Only the friendship of He, who is fully acquainted with the Cross, may provide us with the needed connaturality to get us into the Redemptor's heart. Claiming a Gospel without the Cross, bare of any Christian sense of mortification, or infected by the pagan and naturalist ambiance which prevent us to understand the redeeming suffering values, would place us in the terrible conjuncture of having to hear from Christ's lips: —After all, why should I go on speaking to you?
That our serene and contemplative look of the Cross, be a question to the Crucified, whereby, wordless and noiseless, we tell him: “Who are you?” (Jn 8:25). And He will answer that He is “the way, the truth, and the life” (Jn 14:6), the Stock, which we, poor vine shoots, if not united to, will not be able to bear any fruit, because only him has words of eternal life. And thus, if we do not believe that He is, we shall die by our sins. However, we shall live, despite everything, and we shall already live in this world a Heavenly life, if we take from Him the joyous certitude that the Father is with us, that He will never leave us alone. Thus, we shall imitate the Son by doing always that which pleases the Father.