Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we are reminded of just how each and every one of us are sinful people in need of healing and forgiveness from God. The Lord has shown us the path going forward in life and if we are willing to follow Him, we will receive from Him the assurance of eternal glory and life through Christ, His Son, our Lord and Saviour.]
From our first reading today, we have heard of the rebellion of Israel against God, their lack of gratitude and appreciation for all that God had done for them, even though He had been so generous towards all of them. God has given His people food to eat, the manna He sent to them every morning except on the Sabbath day, as well as large birds to supplement these in the evenings, and gave them all plenty of clear and good quality water in the middle of the lifeless and desolate desert.
Yet the people refused to appreciate this wonderful grace of God, which He has lovingly and patiently extended to His people. The people had repeatedly grumbled and disobeyed the Lord, spurning His love and betraying Him for pagan idols of their neighbours. Despite all these, they still grumbled why God led them to such a desolate place although He had freed them all by mighty deeds out of their suffering in Egypt.
That was why the fruit of their disobedience is punishment, represented by the fiery serpents sent against them to remind them of the sins they have committed against God. The serpents bit many of them and many died, again a reminder that death is the result and consequence of sin. Unless we repent from those sins, as what the Israelites did, regretting their rebellion and disobedience, and begging Moses to intercede on their behalf, unless we do these, we too will perish from our sins.
And then in our Gospel passage today, we heard of the Lord Jesus reminding yet again how sin leads to death, and how He Himself is going to His own death as He has repeatedly mentioned to His disciples of His upcoming suffering and death. He mentioned of how He Himself would suffer and die, lifted up on the Cross high for all, in an obvious parallel to what had happened with Moses and the Israelites in our first reading today.
Moses was told to craft a bronze serpent and put it on a long pole that many people can see it from afar, and those who have been bitten by the serpents and saw the bronze serpent of Moses would not perish but live. In the same way, Christ is lifted up high on the Cross for everyone to see, to be the source of hope and the assurance of salvation for all of us sinners who have been bitten by the sting of sin.
God has loved us all so much that He was willing to endure all that suffering, pain and punishments for us. His crucifixion is the real proof of how much His love is for us and how precious we are all to Him. God’s love is so great that He even wants to forgive us all from our sins and our terrible rebellions against Him. Nonetheless, at the same time again, He also wants to remind us that all sins are dangerous to us, as sin will become our undoing if we continue to allow them to corrupt us and bring us down.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, every time from now on, as we look on the crucifix, on which Our Lord is hung, we are looking at the concrete evidence of God’s love for us, and also the hope and light that He has brought upon us as we still live in the darkness of this world. And now that we see just how much He has cared for us, are we willing to make that commitment to serve Him and to turn away from our sinful past?
Let us all make good use of the time and opportunity that God has granted us, to be reconciled to Him and to embrace His love once again. Let us all sin no more, and be not stubborn anymore in continuing to walk down the path of evil. Instead, let us all draw closer to God, and embrace fully His compassion and mercy, and become from now on, good and faithful Christians, devoted to God at all times.
May God bless us all, and may He strengthen us to serve Him and to follow His path with fervour and zeal. May God empower us all to live more faithfully and to be the bearers of His light in the darkness of this world that even more people may be saved through our faith, that more and more people will turn towards Christ and love Him as their Hope and Saviour. Amen.