CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 16 June 2018

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Second Sunday of the Year: Jesus the lamb of God

The calling of the first apostles happened by Jordan river, according to John the evangelist. 
 
The Baptist, captured the true identity of Jesus, as the ‘Lamb of God’. In his mind, nothing summed up the identity of Jesus like ‘the Lamb of God.’ 
 
Every Israeliite, immediately understood the allusion to the paschal lamb whose blood, placed on the doorposts of the houses in Egypt, had saved their fathers from the slaughter of the exterminating angel.
 
The Baptist saw the fate of Jesus: he would one day be sacrificed like a lamb and his blood would take away from the forces of evil the capacity to cause harm. His sacrifice would redeem man from sin and death. 
 
Noticing that Jesus was condemned at noon of the day before Easter (John 19:14), the evangelist John has certainly wanted to draw this same symbolism. 
 
Indeed, it was the time when the priests began to sacrifice the lambs in the temple.
 
In this text, the image of the lamb is linked to the destruction of sin. Jesus—the Baptist meant to say—will take charge of all the weaknesses, all the miseries, all the iniquities of people and, by his meekness, with the gift of his life, will annihilate them. 
 
He will not remove the evil by giving a sort of amnesty, a restoration. He will win it by introducing in the world a new dynamism, an irresistible force, his Spirit, who will bring people to goodness and life. 
 
The Baptist has also in mind the sacrifice of Isaac. While on the way to the mountain of Moriah, Isaac asked his father, “The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for the sacrifice?” Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the sacrifice” (Genesis 22:7-8).
 
“Here is the Lamb of God!”—the Baptist now attests. It is Jesus, God’s gift to the world to be sacrificed in lieu of the sinner deserving of punishment. 
 
At this point one wonders if indeed the Baptist had in mind all these biblical references when, twice, turning to Jesus, he said: “Behold the Lamb of God” (John 1:29, 36).
 
He maybe not have, but certainly the evangelist John had this in mind. He wanted to offer catechesis to the believers of his community and to us.
 
In addition to that of the lamb, in today’s passage we find other significant titles directed to Jesus. The first two disciples call him, rabbi, teacher (v.38), a not so particularly significant title. After spending a whole day with him, Andrew realises that he is not only a great character; he reveals to his brother Simon: “We have found the Messiah.” Then, Philip speaks of Jesus as the one of whom Moses and the prophets have written (John 1:45) and for Nathaniel, he will even be the son of God, the King of Israel (John 1:49).
 
A furtive encounter with Jesus is not enough to discover his identity. It is necessary to remain with him, spend the whole day, that is, every moment of life, in his home.
 
● Father Fernando Armellini SCJ
Claretian Publications
https://sundaycommentaries.wordpress.com/2018/01/05/2nd-sunday-in-ordinary-time-year-b-january-14-2018/