First Reading | Numbers 21:4-9

The Old Testament has a message of reward and punishment for the things we do or fail to do. Serpents have been set loose in the Israelite camp because of their sin and grumbling—their lack of faith and trust in God. Moses, the intercessor, had gone before God and received the promise that those who would look upon the bronze saraph would be healed. This echoes the New Testament teaching that all who look upon Christ lifted up on the cross will be healed of their sins.

4 From Munt Hor the children of Israel set out on the Red Sea road, to bypass the land of Edom. But with their patience worn out by the journey, 5 the people complained against God and Moses, “Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in this desert, where there is no food or water? We are disgusted with this wretched food!” 6 In punishment the Lord sent among the people saraph serpents, which bit the people so that many of them died. 7 Then the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned in complaining against the Lord and you. Pray the Lord to take the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people, 8 and the Lord said to Moses, “Make a saraph and mount it on a pole, and whoever looks at it after being bitten will live.” 9 Moses accordingly made a bronze serpent and mounted it on a pole, and whenever anyone who had been bitten by a serpent looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.

Responsorial Psalm | Psalm 102:2-3, 16-18, 19-21

R: O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you.

2 O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you. 3 Hide not your face from me in the day of my distress. Incline your ear to me; in the day when I call, answer me speedily. (R) 16 The nations shall revere your name, O Lord, and all the kings of the earth your glory, 17 when the Lord has rebuilt Zion and appeared in his glory; 18 when he has regarded the prayer of the destitute, and not despised their prayer. (R) 19 Let this be written for the generation to come and let his future creatures praise the Lord: 20 “The Lord looked down from his holy height, from heaven he beheld the earth, 21 to hear the groaning of the prisoners, to release those doomed to die.” (R)

Gospel | John 8:21-30

Jesus was confronted by the Jewish leaders. He would not take a step back and compromise what He knew to be true. Sometimes, we need to have the same fortitude as Jesus when a moral principle is at stake. Giving in to something we know is wrong is never the right thing to do—it is a betrayal of the truth and of all that Jesus stands for in the Gospel. Let us pray for the grace to stand firm in the truth that Jesus has revealed to us and to never give in to any sort of compromise.

Gospel Acclamation

The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower; all who come to him will live forever.

21 Jesus said to the Pharisees: “I am going away and you will look for me, but you will die in your sin. Where I am going you cannot come.” 22 So the Jews said, “He is not going to kill himself, is he, because he said, ‘Where I am going you cannot come’?” 23 He said to them, “You belong to what is below, I belong to what is above. You belong to this world, but I do not belong to this world. 24 That is why I told you that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins.” 25 So they said to him, “Who are you?” Jesus said to them, “What I told you from the beginning. 26 I have much to say about you in condemnation. But the one who sent me is true, and what I heard from him I tell the world.” 27 They did not realize that he was speaking to them of the Father. 28 So Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM, and that I do nothing on my own, but I say only what the Father taught me. 29 The one who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, because I always do what is pleasing to him.” 30 Because he spoke this way, many came to believe in him.