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Look Towards Christ

Every year when I teach catechism I always, at some point, get asked by a kid, why Good Friday is called " Good " Friday. They associate the death of Christ has a failure and an ending, but in reality it is a rich and beautiful beginning of true faith on earth. It is good that Christ died. Without the death of Christ, we have nothing. No church. No Pope. No faith. Through Christ death, he has established on earth a church of love, compassion, charity, and healing.

Todays Feast has an interesting history. St Helena of the 4th century, the mother of Emperor Constantine had gone into Jerusalem to find all the holy places where Christ was. While there she had raised a temple over the spot which was believed to be Christ's tomb. Later, her son had the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher built on the exact same spot. When they finally did an excavation of the site they found three crosses, and after one of the crosses healed a women who was dying, the cross was identified has Christs Cross.

The Church of the Holy Sepulcher has been receiving pilgrims since the fourth century. Since it's original Miracle, many people come and venerate the cross by bowing, kissing and praying. Every year, Easter Catholics and Roman Catholics alike celebrate the feast of the Exaltation of the holy cross on the day that the basilica was raised.

In todays first reading, the Israelites who have been travelling for many years, start complaining... again.  They have received food from heaven, water from a rock and quails to eat, but yet they still complain about something. Today, they grumble about the fact that they will die in the desert. Even after the miracles of the food and water. Not to mention, they called manna miserable food. God sends the snakes after them. And it was only those who looked upon the snake that was made got healed.

In todays Gospel, Jesus replaces the image of the snake with himself. That, just has the rod was lifted up so to the Son of Man will be lifted up. Jesus basically says, he is the new rod that is lifted up. That through his death and resurrection  he is the rod that heals.

Like the Israelites that looked upon the rod, we must look at Christ. Christ is lifted up so that we may see. He is lifted up so that we may be healed- all it takes is for use to turn our gaze towards Christ. Through his passion on the cross, Christ expressed an immense amount of love to his children; so much that those who were bitten may not die but live.

Do we look towards Christ?

Do we try to find him among the danger, and painful in our lives?

When we are bitten by the snake of temptation, greed, selfishness, and impatience we must look for Christ for the healing. We must turn our focus, our efforts, our life towards Christ. Through consistent prayer we turn our gaze to Christ and can leave the illness  inflicted by the snake.

Christ loved us beyond anything we imagine. He simply put it, " There is no greater love than giving your life so that they might live" Christ did just that. He gave his entire earthly being for us. He sacrificed his life so that, by stretching out his arms on the cross, we may be cured.

Today, on the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross may we come to look upon Christ. May we focus our attention to Christ- the source of our life, healing, and works. May we yearn to see God face to face. May we, when we turn to Christ, find healing from the poison of sin that is surrounding us in this troublesome world.


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