2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time – Jan 15, 2023
If Mary is the mother of Jesus and Jesus is the lamb of God…
Does that mean that Mary had a little lamb? (from laffgaff.com)
Yes, the message that God wants us to tune in to, is the significance of what it means for Jesus to be the Lamb of God for all humankind.
John the Baptist is the first to identify Jesus as the Lamb in our gospel for today, when he says, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!” John 1: 29b
And ever since Christians have been celebrating the Eucharist, we hear that title for Jesus proclaimed at every mass, as the presider breaks the host into pieces while the people sing, “Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us. Lamb of God you take away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us. Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, grant us peace.” Afterward, the presider holds up the broken pieces of the host over the chalice, and proclaims to all present, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the Sins of the world. Happy are those who are called to the wedding banquet of the Lamb.”
So, we can ask ourselves, what’s the point of Jesus being identified as the Lamb of God? To answer that question, we need to delve into the Old Testament to get an idea of how sin was forgiven before the death of Christ on the cross.
It all comes down to a sacrificial system of substitutionary atonement for sins.
(Explain the sacrificial system of the ANE and Judaism in particular.)
Examples from Leviticus….
(Specific example of an unblemished Lamb in Bible and significance of Blood.)
As we can see from this biblical history, life was in the blood. And when blood is shed, it speaks of the violence of our sins and the destructive effects that they have on our own lives, as well as others.
Enter Jesus! The sinless Son of God! —The messiah whose mission was to redeem the world.
How would that redemption take place? By his suffering and death on a cross —by his blood being spilled. (Explain Jesus’ expiatory atonement for sins and why animal sacrifices were no longer needed.)
St. Paul says in his first letter to the Corinthians 2:2, “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you, except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”
We need to gaze up at the crucified one and learn the true extent of God’s love for us!
We need to gaze up at the crucified one and beg pardon for our sins!
We need to gaze up at the crucified one and receive mercy and God’s gift of eternal life!
That Lamb of God, crucified and sacrificed for us, beckons us to go forth with the saving message of the Gospel to the four corners of the earth, to be God’s intentional missionary disciples in a world that prefers judgment to mercy, punishment to forgiveness, separating people into factions, rather than calling all to unite. That’s what John did after this realization. He says, “I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.” John 1: 34
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