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September 14, 2018 - Look at Me

Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Scripture Readings

It is striking how, in today’s first reading, the people are made well after simply looking at the bronze serpent.  Why would simply looking at a sculpture be recorded in our salvation history as the way the people were saved from the wrath of the snakes’ bites?  In the Israelite camp, there were thousands and thousands of people, and there was only 1 bronze snake.  So, to see it, the people would need to seek it out.  The pilgrimage to go and see the snake was a sign of belief, the opposite of their unbelief that caused the snake problem in the first place.  It’s a pretty low-key miracle compared to the quail, water from the rock, walls of water, and ten plagues that the people saw earlier.  God was helping the people understand that they need a two way relationship with God; they need to seek the Lord to be saved.

Today is the Feast of the Exultation of the Holy Cross.  Jesus is inviting us, through this feast, to look at him. Again this is a sign of our belief. See how our God works.  It is no longer in big flashy miracles; God doesn’t want to shock us into belief.  In romance and faith, grand gestures need to be few and far between.  The daily reality of our relationship with the Divine Christ is the cross.  It is trusting God with everything, no matter the circumstances.   Like any good relationship, Jesus calls us to “look at me,” to know Him and how He works in this world. 

Our God does not regard divine glory as something to be “grasped,” clung to, or horded.  Instead Jesus empties himself, setting aside everything so that we can truly look at him and directly see the face of God.  He humbles himself, becoming the dust he created, so that we can see his fingerprints all around.

Jesus doesn’t come in earthly power and glory, despite having command of the wind and waves.  His Spirit isn’t one of condemnation, but salvation, redemption, and healing.  He came so that we could see Him, know Him, and through Him become whole again. 

He came to show us that His way is the better way.  Looking up at Jesus on the cross, we see the paradox of our faith:  Dying is the way to new life.  Emptying yourself is the way to fullness.  Humbling myself is the way to exultation.  We must be ready to set aside whatever we cling to, if we hope to acquire and keep what is truly valuable for all time.  What are you grasping at?  What fills you up?  Look up at Jesus on the cross, and accept that same Spirit.  Exult in letting go today! 

-Chris Nieport