Sunday’s reading from the book of Numbers, describes the Hebrews following their flight from Egypt coming into a region of venomous serpents. Of course they blame Moses & God for their encounters, some of them being deadly. As a remedy, they are instructed to place a serpent on a pole & whenever snake bitten, to focus on that image & they will be spared from death.
The reading from the gospel according to St. John references this passage & connects it to Jesus, hung on the cross. When we focus on him, we too will be spared from death.
I think both images, serpent on the pole & Christ on the cross, serve to focus our attention on the fact that this world is not always a place of hospitality. Hostility is real. These are poisonous places, there are places of darkness where evil strives to hide & extinguish the light, the love, & the grace of God.
Into such a world came Jesus & when the forces of darkness had done their best (worst), he was placed in a tomb to be forever forgotten. Yet, the tomb could not contain the light, the love, & the grace of God.
God so loved the world that darkness would never be the last word.
Light overcomes Darkness.
Love overcomes Hatred.
Grace overcomes Despair.