The story in the first reading of a bronze serpent, raised up in the desert to save people from the deadly snakes surrounding them, is used in the Gospel by John to refer to Christ raised up on the cross bringing salvation to a world filled with threat and violence.
Those who looked to the bronze serpent were able to recover from the poison draining away their life. Those who look to Christ raised up on the cross, will find Christ, the source of healing and life -and hope.
I am always taken by the realism of that first reading. It does not say that those who look to the Bronze Serpent will not be bitten. It says that though bitten, they will have the capacity and strength to recover. So too, for us who look to Christ. We get no guarantees that we can escape hardship, challenge, or hurt. But we are promised that we, too, will have the capacity and strength to deal with what otherwise might destroy us.
The Cross will touch us all. But the Crucified will be our strength
Fr Tom McDonough CP is the current provincial superior of Holy Spirit province.