By: Fr. Michael MacInnis, Director of Human Formation
As we celebrate the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, the Church helps us to recognize the unique aspects of Christ’s life and its impact on our faith life in and through the mission of Saint John the Baptist.
John the Baptist desires to do God’s Will and to live out his call with integrity. John the Baptist, the forerunner, gives way to Jesus; John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” Saint John the Baptist speaks these words about Jesus at the moment that he sees Jesus coming to him in the distance. John knew, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that Jesus was the “Lamb of God.” He knew, by this interior revelation, that Jesus would become the Sacrificial Lamb Who would lay down His life for the salvation of the world. The Lamb is Jesus Christ, who is also the Good Shepherd.
In the Book of Revelation Saint John has a vision of Heaven, and it is revealed to him that at the heart of Heaven on the throne is the Lamb who has been slain. We read: “For the Lamb who is in the center of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to springs of life-giving water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
At every Mass, as the priest elevates the consecrated Host and Precious Blood, he pronounces: “Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those called to the Supper of the Lamb.” The faithful respond with recognition that we are not worthy and yet trust in God’s goodness, care, and providence by responding: “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”
Referring to the Baptist’s words “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world,” Pope Francis remarked: “the verb that is translated as ‘take away’ literally means ‘to lift up,’ ‘to take upon oneself.’ Jesus came into the world with a precise mission: to liberate it from the slavery of sin by taking on himself the sins of mankind. How? By loving. There is no other way to conquer evil and sin than by the love that leads to giving up one’s life for others…What does it mean for the Church, for us today, to be disciples of Jesus, the Lamb of God? It means replacing malice with innocence, power with love, pride with humility, status with service.” (Pope Francis, Angelus, 19 January 2014)
In today’s reading from the Prophet Isaiah: “…it is too little for you to be my servant…I will make you a light to the nations…” We are not servants, but carriers of Christ’s light into the world. We are meant to be more, to do more. An invitation we hear repeated numerous times in the Gospels. Today’s responsorial psalm reminds us how we are to respond, “Here am I Lord; I come to do your will.”
How are we called to live out the mystery of God’s love in our lives—in the ordinary ways in which God brings about eternity and Heaven in us? Our call is to put on Christ—to make the ordinary, extraordinary by infusing Christ into every aspect of our lives so that we may bring Christ’s light to the world.