Sunday, January 16, 2011

Christ is gentle as a lamb - Why then are we afraid to approach him?

Our God is a gentle God, and will not advance unless we permit Him to do so, as He so honors our free will. - St Faustina

Gospel text (Jn 1:29-34): The next day John saw Jesus coming towards him and said, «There is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. It is he of whom I said: A man comes after me who is already ahead of me, for he was before me. I myself did not know him, but I came baptizing to prepare for him, so that he might be revealed in Israel».

And John also gave this testimony, «I saw the Spirit coming down on him like a dove from heaven and resting on him. I myself did not know him but God who sent me to baptize told me: ‘You will see the Spirit coming down and resting on the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit’. Yes, I have seen! and I declare that this is the Chosen One of God».

Today, when seeing Jesus, we have heard John saying «There is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world» (Jn 1:29). What may all those people have thought? And, what do we think, ourselves? In the celebration of the Eucharist we all pray «Lamb of God who remove the sins of the world / have mercy on us». And the priest invites the congregation to the Communion, by saying: «There is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world...».

When John said, «this is the Lamb of God» we should have no doubts they all understood what he meant, as the lamb is a metaphor of messianic character that prophets like Isaiah had already used, and it was very well known to the good Israelites.

On the other hand, the lamb is the animal Israelites sacrifice to celebrate their Passover, marking freedom for the Israelites from the Egyptian slavery. The Pasch dinner consists of eating a lamb.

And even the Apostles and the Fathers of the Church state hat the lamb is a sign of purity, simplicity, goodness, and innocence... And Christ is Purity, Simplicity, Goodness, and Innocence. Saint Peter will say: «For you know that it was not with perishable things (…) but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect» (1Pet 1:18.19). And St. John, in the Revelation uses thirty times the word “lamb” to describe Christ. Jesus Christ is the lamb who takes away the sins of the world, which has been immolated to give us Grace. Let us fight to always live by Grace, to fight against sin, to hate it. The beauty Grace gives to the soul is so great that no treasure can compare with it. It makes us agreeable to God and worthy of being loved. This is why, the “Gloria” of the Mass mentions the peace of those men the Lord loves, of those who live by Grace.

John Paul II tells us, while urging us to live by the Grace the lamb has given us: «Pledge to live by the Grace. Jesus was born at Bethlehem precisely for that reason (...). To live by Grace is the supreme dignity, the ineffable joy, the guarantee of peace, the marvelous ideal».

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