Meditation of the Apostolic Nuncio, Apostolic Nunciature, New Delhi, Monday 14 September 2020
(Feast of the Exultation of the Cross)
Gospel: John 3:13-17
The text for today’s Liturgy has been taken from the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. It should not surprise us that the passage chosen for this celebration forms part of the fourth Gospel, because, it is precisely this Gospel which presents the mystery of the cross of the Lord as the exaltation. 
This is clear from the beginning of the Gospel: “as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so must the Son of man be lifted up”.  (Jn 3:14. Saint John, having made mention of the gift of baptism, proceeds to the source of it, i. e. the cross: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent…  even so must the Son of man be lifted up”. He introduces the teacher of the Mosaic law, to the spiritual sense of that law; by a passage from the Old Testament history, which was intended to be a figure of His Passion, and of man’s salvation.
Many dying in the wilderness from the attack of the serpents, Moses, by commandment of the Lord, lifted up a brazen serpent: and those who looked upon it were immediately healed. The lifting up of the serpent is the death of Christ; the cause, by a certain mode of construction, being put for the effect. The serpent was the cause of death, inasmuch as he persuaded man into that sin, by which he merited death. Our Lord, however, did not transfer sin, i. e. the poison of the serpent, to his flesh, but death; in order that in the likeness of sinful flesh, there might be punishment without sin, by virtue of which sinful flesh might be delivered both from punishment and from sin.
See then the aptness of the figure. The figure of the serpent has the appearance of the beast, but not its poison: in the same way Christ came in the likeness of sinful flesh, being free from sin.
Herein too is typified the glory of Christ: for the height of the cross was made His glory: for in that He submitted to be judged, He judged the prince of this world; for Adam died justly, because he sinned; our Lord unjustly, because He did no sin. So, He overcame him, who delivered Him over to death, and thus delivered Adam from death. And in this the devil found himself vanquished, that he could not upon the cross torment our Lord into hating His murderers: but only made Him love and pray for them the more. In this way the cross of Christ was made His lifting up, and glory.