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WE HAVE FOUND THE MESSIAH: 2nd ORDINARY SUNDAY [Year B] – John 1:35-42

Jakarta, 14 January 2018

A Christian Pilgrim

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Posted by on January 14, 2018 in MISCELLANY

 

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THE LAMB OF GOD, WHO TAKES AWAY THE SINS OF THE WORLD

THE LAMB OF GOD, WHO TAKES AWAY THE SINS OF THE WORLD

(A biblical refection on THE 2nd ORDINARY SUNDAY (YEAR A) – 15 January 2017)

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Gospel Reading: John 1:29-34 

First Reading: Isaiah 49:3,5-6; Psalms: Psalm 40:2,4,7-10; Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:1-3 

The Scripture Text

The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is He of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, for He was before me.’ I myself did not know Him; but for this I came baptizing with water, that He might be revealed to Israel.” And  John bore witness, “I saw the Spirit descend as a dove from heaven, and it  remained on Him. I myself did not  know Him; but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”  (John 1:29-34 RSV) 

Today’s readings give us some biblical nicknames for Jesus.

In the first reading, Isaiah calls Him God’s Servant, and then proceeds to identify His mission. Through His Servant the Lord will show His glory, gather Israel back to Himself, and reveal His light to all the nations.

In the Gospel, John the Baptist dubs Jesus as the Lamb of God, and then he, too, goes on to describe the Savior’s mission. As the Lamb of God, Jesus will take away the sin of the world, baptize with the Holy Spirit and demonstrate that He is in fact God’s Chosen One.

In his Pelican commentary on this Gospel, John Marsh concludes that in this one word lamb, the evangelist had drawn together overtones of meaning from Old Testament prophecy, current Passover practices and the apocalyptic hopes of the times.

First, Old Testament prophecy. In Isaiah 53 the Servant is crushed for our sins and is led like a lamb to the slaughter. Nevertheless, because of his suffering he will take away the sins of many and win pardon for their offenses.

Second, current Passover practices. Every year the Jews re-enacted the Paschal story of Exodus 12. They slaughtered a year-old male lamb without blemish and sprinkled its blood on their doorposts. They then prayed that the Lord would pass over their homes as He destroyed their oppressors.

Third, the lamb in apocalyptic literature. In the book of Revelation the lamb is first slain as a victim for our redemption but then becomes a victorious conqueror who takes His seat upon God’s throne.

Now that we know where John the Baptist got his nickname for Jesus, so what? Let’s face it – the Lamb of God is not exactly a popular title suggesting strength, such as Richard the Lionhearted. But if we look more closely, we will see that the title Lamb of God does, in fact, stand for courage.

Although the Suffering Servant in Isaiah 53 went in silence to his sacrifice, he also went in strength and by his own choice. As followers of Jesus, can we take up our cross freely, with dignity, and in strength?

The paschal lamb was a means of liberation for God’s Chosen People from the oppression of Egypt. To be a disciple of the Lamb implies that we accept the challenges of liberation – whether from economic injustice or racial bigotry.

The Lamb of the Book of Revelation is a conquering Lamb – a Lamb who makes war on poverty and hunger, and who battles against immorality and corruption. We witness to the Lamb every time we fight for human rights, stand up for decency and protest incompetence in government.

The Lamb of God is more that a nickname. It is a challenge for us to keep on taking away the sins of the world so that it can truly be baptized with the Holy Spirit. 

Source: Fr. Albert Cylwicki CSB, HIS WORD RESOUNDS, Makati, Philippines: St. Paul Publications, 1991, pages 45-47.

Prayer: 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. Amen.

Jakarta, 15 January 2017 

A Christian Pilgrim 

 
 

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THE LAMB OF GOD IS MORE THAN A NICKNAME

THE LAMB OF GOD IS MORE THAN A NICKNAME

(A biblical refection on THE 2nd ORDINARY SUNDAY (YEAR A) – 19 January 2014) 

First Reading: Isaiah 49:3,5-6; Psalms: Psalm 40:2,4,7-10; Second Reading: 1Corinthians 1:1-3; Gospel Reading: John 1:29-34 

JESUS THE LAMB OF GODToday’s readings give us some biblical nicknames for Jesus.

In the first reading, Isaiah calls Him God’s Servant, and then proceeds to identify His mission. Through His Servant the Lord will show His glory, gather Israel back to Himself, and reveal His light to all the nations.

In the Gospel, John the Baptist dubs Jesus as the Lamb of God, and then he, too, goes on to describe the Savior’s mission. As the Lamb of God, Jesus will take away the sin of the world, baptize with the Holy Spirit and demonstrate that He is in fact God’s Chosen One.

In his Pelican commentary on this Gospel, John Marsh concludes that in this one word lamb, the evangelist had drawn together overtones of meaning from Old Testament prophecy, current Passover practices and the apocalyptic hopes of the times.

First, Old Testament prophecy. In Isaiah 53 the Servant is crushed for our sins and is led like a lamb to the slaughter. Nevertheless, because of his suffering he will take away the sins of many and win pardon for their offenses.

Second, current Passover practices. Every year the Jews re-enacted the Paschal story of Exodus 12. They slaughtered a year-old male lamb without blemish and sprinkled its blood on their doorposts. They then prayed that the Lord would pass over their homes as He destroyed their oppressors.

Third, the lamb in apocalyptic literature. In the book of Revelation the lamb is first slain as a victim for our redemption but then becomes a victorious conqueror who takes His seat upon God’s throne.

275px-Geertgen_Man_van_smartenNow that we know where John the Baptist got his nickname for Jesus, so what? Let’s face it – the Lamb of God is not exactly a popular title suggesting strength, such as Richard the Lionhearted. But if we look more closely, we will see that the title Lamb of God does, in fact, stand for courage.

Although the Suffering Servant in Isaiah 53 went in silence to his sacrifice, he also went in strength and by his own choice. As followers of Jesus, can we take up our cross freely, with dignity, and in strength?

The paschal lamb was a means of liberation for God’s Chosen People from the oppression of Egypt. To be a disciple of the Lamb implies that we accept the challenges of liberation – whether from economic injustice or racial bigotry.

The Lamb of the Book of Revelation is a conquering Lamb – a Lamb who makes war on poverty and hunger, and who battles against immorality and corruption. We witness to the Lamb every time we fight for human rights, stand up for decency and protest incompetence in government.

The Lamb of God is more that a nickname. It is a challenge for us to keep on taking away the sins of the world so that it can truly be baptized with the Holy Spirit. 

Source: Fr. Albert Cylwicki CSB, HIS WORD RESOUNDS, Makati, Philippines: St. Paul Publications, 1991, pages 45-47. 

Jakarta, 17 January 2014 

A Christian Pilgrim

 
 

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THE LAMB OF GOD

THE LAMB OF GOD

(A biblical refection on THE 2nd ORDINARY SUNDAY (YEAR A) – 19 January 2014) 

Gospel Reading: John 1:29-34 

First Reading: Isaiah 49:3,5-6; Psalms: Psalm 40:2,4,7-10; Second Reading: 1Corinthians 1:1-3 

BAPTISAN YESUS - 1The Scripture Text

The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is He of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, for He was before me.’ I myself did not know Him; but for this I came baptizing with water, that He might be revealed to Israel.” And  John bore witness, “I saw the Spirit descend as a dove from heaven, and it  remained on Him. I myself did not  know Him; but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God”  (Jn 1:29-34 RSV). 

The Lamb of God. That what Jesus is called in today’s Gospel. The lamb as a gentle symbol would never be considered as a fitting logo for the mighty people of modern world. Imagine an American football team or a British rugby team being  called “The Lambs”. The hard-hitting players and avid fans prefer names like Lions, Tigers, Panthers, Bulls, etc. Isn’t it strange that God the Almighty would choose to be known as The Lamb? Does it not clarify for us the Lord’s understanding of real strength, and give us the deeper spiritual meaning of true power?

The Lamb symbol has a rich history and is intimately associated with some tremendous salvific events. The lamb was ceremonially eaten in Egypt on the eve of the Exodus. The lamb again was present on the Last Supper table, the night before Jesus suffered and died on the cross. It has often been shown in Church art as wounded yet triumphantly holding aloft a pennant-shaped victory flag. The Lamb has won the pennant. The animal that sacrifices its flesh, wool and skin is God’s victory sign.

LAMB OF GOD - 6Its symbolism is not confined to the Jewish and Christian religions. The courageous Hindu, Mahatma Gandhi found the lamb image deeply significant of his concept of pacifism, which he preached as the only way to ultimate triumph.

Our religion overflows with paradoxes. So many of its teachings are exactly the opposite from what we would expect. Thus, we preach that the lamb is stronger than the lion. At each Mass we cry out the triumphant chant, not once but three times: “Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.” By this we profess that humanity’s most admirable SERVANT walked through this world, showing us that gentleness is toughness.

We are invited to follow that same paradoxical tradition and find glory in our weaknesses. Saint Paul said it well: “I am content with weakness … for when I am powerless it is then that I am strong” (2Corinthians 12:10).

Whenever we try to act as a dominating master instead of a humble servant, we are ignoring the “lamb theology”. Jesus told us that church and civil authority are radically different. In the state, the leaders “lord it over” their subjects. But to His disciples, Jesus says, “It shall not be so among you, but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave; even as the Son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:25-28). This is the essence of “servanthood” or “servant leadership”.

So it was that Jesus lived and preached, and although He was led to the slaughter and was as mute as a lamb before the shearer (Isaiah 53:7), He won a greater victory than anyone has ever done.

Prayer: 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. Amen.

Jakarta, 17 January 2014 

A Christian Pilgrim

 
 

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ALL SAINTS DAY [REVELATION 7:2-4,9-14]

ALL SAINTS DAY [REVELATION 7:2-4,9-14] 

AdorationOfTheLamb-JvanEyck

From the very beginning, the Church has honored and revered its martyrs and heroes. What began on a popular and local level gradually became woven into the liturgy, beginning around the fourth century in the Eucharistic Prayer. In the fifth century, a feast honoring all the saints was declared in some Eastern churches, and from there the celebration was taken up in Rome. In 835 A.D., Pope Gregory IV declared All Saints Day a feast for the entire Church. 

A day commemorating the saints is actually a day of rejoicing in the greatness of the Lord and hoping in His love. The victory that we see in the saints testifies to the Lord Himself. It was not just their own efforts that produced such holiness, but the work of the Lord, who wants to pour the fullness of the life of Jesus into our hearts. This has been the hope and joy of all holy women and men always and everywhere, and it is our hope and joy as well. 

The Book of Revelation contains a vision of the redeemed of the Lord, gathered around the throne of God. “They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:14 RSV). The victory of the redeemed came through the blood of Jesus, which washed them, purified them, and sealed them with the promise of eternal life. 

The power of this precious blood of Christ is available to us every day by faith. We can turn to Jesus at any moment and ask for His blood to cover our sins and cleanse us. We can call on Jesus at any moment for Him to pour out the power of His death and resurrection to strengthen us and enable us to live as God’s children. “What love the Father has given us that we should be called children of God” (1John 3:1). We are His children; He has adopted us as His very own! Every day, our Father’s hand is extended to us and we have the great privilege to take hold of Him. 

Let us fix our eyes on the Lamb at the center of the throne who has promised to be our Shepherd and to lead us to “springs of living water” (Revelation 7:17). The Lord, who has worked in the lives of the saints, is ready to work in us if we will turn to Him. Our God – who has chosen us to be His very own – is faithful! 

Jakarta, 1st of November 2013 

A Christian Pilgrim

 
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Posted by on November 1, 2013 in TODAY'S THOUGHT 2013

 

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