Sunday, January 19, 2020

2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time: Behold the Lamb of God

We are fresh off the holidays. Christmas and the Epiphany are over. The new year is here and we celebrated the Baptism of Jesus last Sunday. Now the Epiphany is taking hold. We are seeing Jesus revealed more and more. Last Sunday, we are told by God the Father that He is the beloved Son. Now we begin Ordinary time and will learn more about Christ and what He has to offer. Ordinary time is not ordinary at all. It just means that no serious big events will take place. So do not let the word "ordinary" fool you.  In fact, in my opinion, Ordinary time is the period which we all should focus a little more on. This is because we learn more on the person of Jesus and what He expects from us believers.

In the first reading, we are told of the servant who God will use to show His glory. This servant will bring Jacob and Israel back to the Lord and will be a light to the nations. Jesus is this new servant. He is the one who will gather Jacob and Israel back. He is the light of the world and the one who brings salvation. We too are servants of the Lord who must be His mouthpiece, hands and feet in the world. We must do God's will. Today's responsorial Psalm reminds us of this. Like the Psalm states, "Here am I, Lord; I come to do you will," we must state this proudly and move onward to do His will in the world.  Unfortunately, many Catholics tend to believe that a vocation or a "call" is solely for those men who eventually become priests or brothers. The same can be said of those women who eventually become religious sisters. However, this is not the case. All believers in the Church are called by God in one way or another.

In the second reading, we see how Paul himself is called to be an apostle of the Lord. The Gospel tells us that Jesus came to do a job, so to speak. John the Baptists points to Him as the "Lamb of God." This lamb takes away the sin of the world. What does this all mean?  Calling Jesus a "lamb" is representative of the fact that Jesus is the sacrificial offering. We read in the Old Testament how God tells Abraham to sacrifice his only son Isaac. This was, of course, a test. Isaac was never sacrificed. In fact, God later provides the sacrificial offering. Similarly, God once again provides the sacrificial offering: His only Son. Next, what is the "sin" of the world? Can the world even sin? Well, we must look at Adam and Eve for the answer. The "sin" of the world is original sin, the rejection of God and disobedience that Adam and Eve began and which has passed on to us. This "sin" is what leads to other sins, venial, mortal which are actual sins.

This is why Jesus is the Lamb of God. He is the sacrifice whose blood will serve as expiation for the sin of the world. John the Baptist tells this to all present and to us today in 2020. John the Baptist tells us how the Holy Spirit came like a dove upon Jesus and that this one is the person who will baptize with the Holy Spirit. This means that the water of baptism is sanctified and given authority only in Jesus. Let us now follow Jesus more closely. It is a new year and new decade which we should use to focus on growing in holiness. There are so many events going on in the world that make us wonder how much time is left. Let us not sit and speculate, but take action to better our lives via the Sacraments, the Mass, prayer and the faith.


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