The cross brings life amidst our turmoil

Maria Kozakiewicz


Triumph of the Cross – September 14, 2014
Numbers 21.4-9 | Psalm 78 | Philippians 2.6-11 | John 3.13-17
September 8, 2014

The story of the bronze serpent made by Moses and mounted on the pole has its own sequence of events. The tragedy begins, as always, in growing forgetfulness of God and lack of gratitude.

As life in the desert gets tougher, the thoughts of the wanderers shift from God's past miracles and focus on present dissatisfaction, the meagre food and the absence of the lush greenery of Egypt's delta.

Serpents strike almost immediately. They are "sent by God," but in fact, it is almost as if they are lured to their victims by the "scent" of their bitterness and ingratitude. In their darkened minds, men no longer find God to be their hope and salvation, their joy and the centre of their lives. The Ark stands abandoned.

Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert so must the Son of Man be lifted up. – John 3.14

'Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert so must the Son of Man be lifted up.'

John 3.14

With the shield of faith and trust in God let down, the humans are open to attack.

God has not left us at the mercy of the serpents. Jesus, elevated on the cross, saved all of us through his sacrifice, showing love beyond human imagining. He also showed his power through the resurrection.

"God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life."

There remains, however, a matter of making the choice. It is not easy to lift the head when we hurt so terribly and the darkness engulfs us.

Will the cross on the wall be my salvation or a "religious symbol"?

Recently, I met a couple tottering on the verge of divorce. No "third party" is involved, no desire to separate. The deep-seated depression of one of them is spilling onto the other and their child.

Forgotten is the happy past: the courtship, the wedding, and the days when they sang together over the crib and when they danced with their little girl in their arms. Forgotten is the joy of the first apartment and that broad, comfy, if not pretty, couch from IKEA.

Forgotten is the mystical happiness of Mass, the peace of the confessional, and the joys of Holy Communion and of being one with the parish community.

Snakes isolate their victims and surround them with darkness.

The darkness of the striking serpents always eradicates signs of God's presence. Therefore the photograph of the girl in her First Communion dress vanished from the living room first. The statuette of Mary, her pictures and the cross that used to guard the entrance to the house have been replaced by modern, indifferent art.


This couple is still fighting to stay together, unlike many other victims of the serpents of our times who just give up. They use all the secular means at their disposal. A team of psychologists probes their pasts and makes them re-live all their grievances since childhood.

The living Love on the Cross is still waiting for their gaze so he can save them.

I try to talk to them about the "cure of the cross," and soon I feel like a nurse with a 100 per cent cure for Ebola who is thrown out of the dying patient's house.

Yet, I believe God is the God of mercy and that the cross will prevail. God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.