A friend of mine has a morning routine before he goes to work. He feeds the dogs, he brews coffee and he makes oatmeal for his breakfast. He’s been doing this for a long time and it’s become very predictable. One morning he was reading the news and got distracted. He eventually realized that he scooped oatmeal into the coffee filter instead of coffee. He was fortunate to discover the mistake before making a mess, but it was a “wake up call” for him look up and pay attention.
Our readings today give us more serious examples of the consequences of distractions. Our first reading actually foreshadows the Gospel. God gives Moses a cure for the snake bites suffered by the children of Israel. God tells Moses to: “Make a saraph (snake image) and mount it on a pole, and whoever looks at it after being bitten will live.” The cure worked but also seemed to be a test of their faith. Poisonous snakes were crawling on the ground all around them. It would have required a lot of faith to take their eyes off the snakes on the ground and look up at the image Moses mounted on a pole.
In the Gospel, Jesus makes another prediction about the Son of Man being lifted up on the cross. He tells the Pharisees that when He is lifted up, they will realize He is the true God. The pride of the Pharisees seems to prevent them from looking up and realizing their promised Messiah is right in front of them. So how do these readings help us reflect on our own lives?
· Are there problems we ignore because we are afraid to face the solution?
· What worldly distractions are keeping us from looking up and being more aware of the people and situations around us?
As we forge ahead, let us ask God for the humility we need to look up and see the saving power of the cross with the eyes of faith.
-Deacon Steve Whiteman