Thought of the day
Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Tuesday of the Fifth week of Lent

Saint Augustine (354-430), Bishop of Hippo (North Africa) and Doctor of the Church Tractate 12 on the Gospel of John, 11 “ When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I am ”

Tuesday of the Fifth week of Lent

Commentary of the day 

Saint Augustine (354-430), Bishop of Hippo (North Africa) and Doctor of the Church Tractate 12 on the Gospel of John, 11

“ When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I am ”

He endured death yet hanged death on the cross and mortal men are delivered from death. The Lord calls to mind a great matter which was figuratively done with the Israelites of old. He says: "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up; that every one who believes in him may not perish but have everlasting life" (Jn 3:14). A great mystery is here, as those who read it know... Now Moses was ordered by the Lord to make a brazen serpent and to raise it on a pole in the wilderness and admonish the people, Israel, that, when any of them had been bitten by a serpent, they should look upon that serpent raised up on the pole. This was done: some were bitten, looked, and were healed (Nm 21:6-9). 

What are the biting serpents? Sins, from the mortality of the flesh. What is the serpent lifted up? The Lord's death on the cross. For as death came by the serpent so it was imaged by the likeness of a serpent. The serpent's bite was deadly, the Lord's death is life-giving. A serpent is gazed on that the serpent may have no power. What is this? A death is gazed on, that death may have no power. But whose death? The death of life: if it may be said so, the death of life; yes indeed, for it may be said, but said wonderfully. But should it not be spoken, seeing it was a thing to be done? Shall I hesitate to utter that which the Lord has deigned to do for me? Is not Christ life? And yet Christ hung on the cross. Is not Christ life? And yet Christ was dead. But in Christ's death, death died...; the fullness of life swallowed up death; death was absorbed in the body of Christ. So also shall we say at the resurrection, when triumphant at last we shall sing, "Where, O death, is thy victory? Where, O death, is thy sting?" (1 Cor 15:55).