Quoting from the day’s reading from the Book of Numbers and from the gospel of St. John, the Holy Father explained the link between the serpent in the Old Testament and Jesus in the New Testament.
“The Lord said to Moses: ‘make a bronze serpent and mount it on a pole and whoever looks at it after being bitten will live,’” the Pope quoted the Bible passage. Here, the serpent acted as a symbol of sin and as a sign that saves. Jesus, the Pope said, emptied, humiliated and annihilated himself to save us. He became sin, the symbol of serpent. “The Son of Man, who like a serpent, ‘became sin,’ is raised up to save us,” the Pontiff told.
“The Cross,” the Pope concluded by saying, “is not an ornament or a work of art with many precious stones as we see around us. The Cross is the Mystery of God’s annihilation for love. And the serpent that makes a prophecy in the desert is salvation, it is raised up and whoever looks at it is healed. This is done through the suffering of the Son of Man, through the suffering of Jesus Christ.”