On this second Sunday, the Gospel tells the story of the meeting between Jesus and John the Baptist at the Jordan River. John the Baptist sees Jesus, who steps forward from the crowd and, inspired from above, sees in Jesus the one sent by God. For this reason, he points him out with these words: “Behold the lamb of God, he who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).
The word that is translated with “take away” literally means “to relieve,” or “to take upon oneself.” Jesus became man and was born into our world with a precise mission: to free us from the slavery of sin, taking humanity’s faults upon himself. In what way? By loving. There is no other way to defeat evil and sin than with the love that moves a person to give the gift of his life for others. In the testimony of John the Baptist, Jesus is given the traits of the Servant of the Lord, who “has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows” (Isaiah 53:4), to the point of dying on the cross. He is the true Passover lamb, who immerses himself in the river of our sin, to purify us. John the Baptist sees before him a man who gets in line with sinners to be baptized even though he does not need to. He is the man who God sent into the world as the sacrificial lamb. The word “lamb” appears several times in the New Testament and always in reference to Jesus. This image of the lamb might surprise us: an animal that is certainly not characterized by its strength and hardiness takes upon himself such an oppressive weight. The
enormity of evil is removed and taken away by a weak and fragile lamb, who is a symbol of obedience, docility and defenseless love, who goes to the point of sacrificing himself. The lamb is not an oppressor but is docile; he is not aggressive but peaceful; he does not show his claws or teeth in the face of an attack, but endures it and is submissive. And this is how Jesus is! He is like a lamb. What does it mean for the Church and for us today to be disciples of Jesus the lamb of God? It means putting innocence in the place of hatred, love in the place of aggressive behavior, humility in the place of pride, and service in the place of prestige. It is good work! We Christians must do this: put innocence in the place of hatred, love in the place of aggressive behavior, humility
in the place of pride, and service in the place of prestige. Being disciples of the Lamb means that we must not live like a “city under siege,” but like a city on a hill that is open and welcoming to all who seek our help. It means not having an attitude of intolerance, but proposing the Gospel to everyone, testifying with our life that following
Jesus makes us more free and more joyful. Today’s Gospel tells us how John the Baptist prepared the world for Jesus’ coming. We are called to be like John the
Baptist. But our call is to prepare the world for Jesus’ second coming.
He Would Love First!
October 24, 2020
A July Faith Formation Series – Part IV – APOSTOLIC