Tuesday, 3/27/ 12
Three times in his Gospel St. John quoted Jesus as saying something about being lifted up the way Moses lifted up the serpent. The first time was in Chapter Three when Jesus told Nicodemus that when he was lifted up people would come to know he was God. Here in Chapter Eight it is the same, with Jesus saying they would come to know, “that I am.”
In Chapter Twelve it is a little different. There, Jesus said that when he would be lifted up he would draw all men to himself. His saying that makes me ashamed of myself for paying little attention to crucifixes lately.
That shame was doubled for me the other day when I went into the wrong hospital room. It wasn’t the lady I had come to see, but the lady in bed recognized me. After an exchange of remarks about how she knew me, she lifted her glance to the crucifix on the wall past the base of her bed, and she said, “Having Jesus on the cross here makes everything right for me.”
That’s a thing about Catholics: we appreciate Jesus for being on the cross. A dozen or so years ago when St. Vincent’s tried joining Baptist Hospital in one corporation the Baptist side of us erected an immense bare white cross on the top of our building here. Maybe the Baptists don’t have a Jesus, but we do.
In Korea when I subbed as an American military chaplain I had one of their Mass kits for weekends. Since it was an ecumenical kit the little stand-up cross had no figure on it; but the Defiance Department equipped the kit with a little clip-on Jesus for Catholics. With the ability to go either way we had need to burn each other as heretics.