Voices ever ancient, ever new. Easter, Week 2: Tuesday

“And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up...” (John 3:14)

Saint Augustine of Hippo offers the following insight on these verses from today’s Gospel:

“Let me try to explain, as far as the Lord enables me to, what these signs mean. The rod stands for the kingdom, the snake for mortality. It was by the snake that humanity was given death to drink. The Lord was prepared to take this death on himself. So when the rod came down to earth it had the form of a snake because the kingdom of God, which is Jesus Christ, came down to earth. He put on mortality, which he also nailed to the cross. In his mercy God provided a remedy, a remedy that restored health at the time but also foretold the wisdom that was to come in the future. Whoever has been bitten by the snakes of sin need only gaze on Christ and will have healing for the forgiveness of sins. And so, brothers, it is the mortality that the Lord took on himself that the church must go on experiencing as his body, of which he is the head, as man, in heaven. So the church experiences mortality, which was inflicted through the seduction of the serpent. We owe death to the sin of the first persons, but afterward we shall reach eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. But when does the church arrive at life and return to the kingdom? At the end of the world. That is why he took it by the tail, which is the end, in order to restore his rod to its original condition.” (Sermon 6)

Enable us, we pray, almighty God,
to proclaim the power of the risen Lord,
that we, who have received the pledge of his gift,
may come to possess all he gives
when it is fully revealed.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

O God,
Who set Saint Catherine of Siena
on fire with divine love in her contemplation
of the Lord’s Passion and
her service of Your Church,
grant, through her intercession, that your people,
participating in the mystery of Christ,
may ever exult in the revelation of His glory.
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

The Lord is risen! Alleluia!
He is risen, indeed! Alleluia!