Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Lent
What is shocking in the first reading is after overcoming all the previous difficulties of Egyptian slavery, the Israelites still find something to complain about, even if it is the free God given manna that appears each morning in front of them (Numbers 11:6-9)! God’s response to complaining, seraph serpents that bit people and kill them (Numbers 21:8). However, there is hope for the people, Moses mounted a bronze serpent onto a pole, which provided healing and life for the Israelites who were bitten by the seraph serpents (Numbers 21:9). Each time I read this passage, I cannot help but think of the medical symbol of the staff with two snakes intertwined around it and how this symbol regardless of language, symbolizes medical healing. While the Israelites received healing from the serpent, Jesus, when raised up on the cross provides healing and new life for believers.
Pope Francis’ intentions for the month of April centers on the sick and suffering that they may experience the risen Lord filling them with hope. The message of Christianity is that God infinitely loves each human person so much that God shared in human life, especially in the pain, sorrow and death that comes with daily living. On this day, we pray for all those who are sick and for those who care for them, that they can look up to the Cross and find healing and consolation.