Wednesday, March 28, 2007
IX. Jesus begins his ascent to the Father
In his encounter with Nicodemus in Chapter 3 Jesus predicted that
“…just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so much the Son of Man be lifted up,…” v14, referring to Numbers 21:9.
And he has predicted that
“when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all people to myself” (12:32).
Once Jesus has been nailed to the cross, the cross, with him on it, is lifted into an upright position. He is literally “lifted up from earth.”
This movement upward, the Gospel implies, is the beginning of the upward movement toward the Father. (There is no ascension story in the Gospel of John.)
Jesus’ ascent is of course the action of the Father. As Jesus offers himself as the Lamb of God, the Father receives his offering and lifts his Son into new life.
As the Father does so, Jesus and the Father break the power of sin and death.
“Dying you destroyed our death, rising you restored our life…”
In breaking the power of sin and death and in being the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world, Jesus frees us from the power of sin – our own and the world’s sin imposed upon us. We are free to live fuller and more abundant lives and to experience the Lord’s complete joy.
“By your cross and resurrection you have set us free…”
In your prayer and reflection, “see” the cross being lifted, and “feel” the reality of your release from sin – your own and the world’s that you suffer – being lifted from you.
Thank him for what he has done for you.
See and feel this freedom inside yourself.
Nurture this freedom by seeing the many good things in creation, especially the blessings that come into your life. My human life may be threatened by those who don’t understand me, he says, but I feel the Father’s love poured constantly into my heart. And so, I’m not afraid, even though my spirit may be troubled.
Prepare to celebrate the greatest day of the liturgical year: The Feast of the Resurrection of Our Lord!