He Died for Me!
September 14, 2021 (readings)
- Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
- Cathy Stamper
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.
Opening Prayer: Lord, open my eyes to your saving grace. I believe you are the Son of the living God, who died for my sins so that I might be saved.
Lifted Up: On Good Friday, Jesus’s followers experienced the pain and devastation of his suffering and death, but Jesus presented his upcoming Passion differently in today’s Gospel. He spoke of being lifted up as Moses lifted the serpent on a pole in the desert. Everyone who looked upon the serpent was healed. Jesus was asking us to recognize that his very public death on the cross is a sign to the world that our salvation is at hand.
God So Loved the World: John 3:16 is arguably one of the best known and most often quoted verses in all of the Bible. This verse is so beloved because it is the core of our faith: “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him might not perish, but have eternal life.” When we meditate on this and repeat it to ourselves, we come to a deeper understanding of God’s very personal and intimate love for each one of us.
Not to Condemn: God did not send his Son to condemn us, but to save us. How reassuring this is! So often we lament like St, Paul: “I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do” (Romans 7:14-15). We should indeed repent, confess our sins, and strive always to do better. However, we can hold tightly to Jesus’s promise: He does not want to condemn us; he wants to save us.
Conversing with Christ: Oh Jesus, it is such a relief to hear that you love me despite my many failings. When you humble me so that I can see my sins clearly, allow me also to be reassured by the fact that you died and rose for my salvation.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will do an examination of conscience and schedule a time to receive the sacrament of reconciliation.
For Further Reflection: The Fullness of John 3:16.
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