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"Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience," (Col 3:12)

14 September 2023

Jn 3:13-17 - ... o must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life." ...

Nm 21: 4b-9

With their patience worn out by the journey, the people complained against God and Moses, "Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in this desert,
where there is no food or water? We are disgusted with this wretched food!" In punishment the LORD sent among the people saraph serpents,
which bit the people so that many of them died. Then the people came to Moses and said, "We have sinned in complaining against the LORD and you.
Pray the LORD to take the serpents from us." So Moses prayed for the people, and the LORD said to Moses, "Make a saraph and mount it on a pole,
and if any who have been bitten look at it, they will live." Moses accordingly made a bronze serpent and mounted it on a pole, and whenever anyone who had been bitten by a serpent looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.


Jn 3:13-17

Jesus said to Nicodemus:
"No one has gone up to heaven except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert,
so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life." For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world might be saved through him.


Sometimes we have a false imagination of the cross as a tool to punish us. It seems to us that by sending us the cross, God wants to punish us and take revenge for the evil we have committed. Meanwhile, sin itself is already punishment for us, because by distancing us from God, it destroys our bond of love with Him and deprives us of true happiness and peace. Why else would God punish us further? We see this truth in today’s first reading. Israelites die not because of God but because of their sin, because the complaint against God and Moses. But God in his mercy gives them a sign of salvation, a serpent made by Moses, which is similar to a cross. God is Good and Love itself, hence everything He does in our lives is always for our good and salvation. This also applies to the cross we carry. By sending us the cross, God wants to tell us something, draw our attention to something, improve something in our lives, wants us to become saints, better, more perfect already here on earth. God sometimes allows misfortune to hit a person like a hammer in order to create a better spark, a huge fire from him, from his heart - said Henryk Sienkiewicz. The cross is a tool with which God sculpts our soul, hits it like a hammer, constantly correcting and improving it, so that it becomes a beautiful spiritual statue, so that a holy man is created, created in His image and likeness, ready to live with Him in a blessed eternity.

Imagine that your soul is the rock, the sculptor is God, and the hammer is the cross. We are all born like this piece of rock, we are not immediately perfect, saints, we become saints over time. You are not born a saint, but you become a saint, every day of your life God takes the hammer of the cross and carves your soul piece by piece, so that at the end he can admire you as his masterpiece. We know that none of these hits are pleasant, and they hurt us, but there is no other way. If you want to be like Christ, first look at the cross and see how to acquire holiness, I will tell you more, not only look at this cross, but imagine yourself hanging on it and listen to His words: If anyone wants to come after me, let him deny himself, let him take up his cross and follow Me. If you don't understand yet, listen to other words: A disciple is not above his teacher, nor is a servant above his master. It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher and the servant like his master. If you want to be close to God, if you want to imitate Him and make your life similar to His, it is best to look at the cross. This cross is also your cross and you will have to die on it one day in order to enter the Father's house like your teacher, Jesus Christ, and achieve eternal happiness. There is no other way, holiness is not a straight highway to heaven, without problems, but the Way of the Cross, with many holes, with sharp stones that hurt the feet, over which we trip and fall constantly. In addition, we carry on our shoulders the cross of our problems, weaknesses, difficult people with whom we have to live, diseases and disabilities that have fallen on us. This is reality, this is our path to holiness. This is the path that the Lord Jesus marked out for us 2,000 years ago, long and painful, but in the end happy for all of us. If we carry our cross patiently, we will reach eternity with it, where there will be no more sadness, pain, suffering or loss, but eternal joy and happiness. You can live this life easily, peacefully, richly and stress-free, you can plunge yourself and fulfill all your desires. You cannot worry about God, the Church, the sacraments, live for years in sin, without any obligations towards other people, live in the utopia of love, in artificial relationships that can always be ended if something doesn't suit you, you can laugh because you have a lot of money in your account and you are secured. You will go through this life, you will glide like a surfer on a high wave, but you will miss God. And you can also take up your cross, face problems, fight sins and weakness, fall and get up, convert even though you no longer have strength you can throw the cross on the ground but no, you continue because you know it's worth it, you don't give up, you don't stop loving, you kneel in the confessional again, you come to Church, even though the sermon may be boring, the priest talks about politics, you listen to the complaints of your loved ones. You feel a fire burning in your heart, burning you from the inside, causing great pain. You want to extinguish it by choosing evil, but you forgive because you love, because anger will not change anything, because there is another way. Then you are like Him, then you become holy. Holiness is not only prayers recited piously on one's knees, the number of services performed or religious pictures hidden in the closet. Holiness is your daily struggle with the cross, accepting other people, fighting sin, not looking for the easy way and not compromising. There is no compromise in the cross, either you allow yourself to be nailed or you don't. There is no third option, you will not achieve holiness by only seeking what is easy and pleasant. Jesus clearly shows you that on the journey to holiness the last stop will be at Golgotha. Don't look at the road, look at the goal. The most beautiful and spacious road may lead you to a dead end, an ordinary path with holes may lead you to a treasure. This treasure is eternal life, holiness. However, it is locked like any treasure in a chest. To open it, you need a key. That key is the CROSS!

Father Marcin Cwierz, OSPPE

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"Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience," (Col 3:12)  

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