Sunday January 19th, 2020
2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A
Dear pastorate family,
The words of St. John the Baptist in this weekend’s Gospel are familiar to us: “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” Just before the distribution of Holy Communion, every priest at Mass says, “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.” We are invited to SEE in the most holy Eucharist the Real Presence of Jesus, the Lamb of God, who was sacrificed upon the altar of the cross for the salvation of the world. What we receive at Mass is NOT a piece of BREAD or a sip of WINE. No, it is the very BODY and BLOOD of Jesus, the Lamb of God. He is the Lamb which God sacrificed for us, so that we might have life in Him. Let’s ask ourselves, are my eyes open to see the Real Presence of Jesus in Holy Communion? Do I approach Holy Communion ready to receive JESUS, who died for me?
St. John the Baptist wants us to SEE. The Church wants us to SEE. God Himself wants us to SEE – to behold Jesus, the Lamb of God, the One who DIED and ROSE again so that we might have LIFE. Once we have beheld the Lamb of God, what’s our response? “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” We’re not worthy to receive Jesus, but He makes us worthy. His death paid the price for the forgiveness of our sins. His resurrection bought for us righteousness before God. The One whom we are unworthy to receive makes us worthy, and opens the doorway to heaven. Our participation in the Eucharist is an anticipation of the life of heaven. At this Mass and every Mass, let’s aim to SEE Jesus, the Lamb of God.
Jesus the Lamb of God and the Eucharist
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs 608-611 (FYI, 609 is omitted here) helps us understand the background and the significance of what we read about in the Gospel. “608) After agreeing to baptize him along with the sinners, John the Baptist looked at Jesus and pointed him out as the "Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world". By doing so, he reveals that Jesus is at the same time the suffering Servant who silently allows himself to be led to the slaughter and who bears the sin of the multitudes, and also the Paschal Lamb, the symbol of Israel's redemption at the first Passover. Christ's whole life expresses his mission: "to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." [609 omitted] 610) Jesus gave the supreme expression of his free offering of himself at the meal shared with the twelve Apostles "on the night he was betrayed". On the eve of his Passion, while still free, Jesus transformed this Last Supper with the apostles into the memorial of his voluntary offering to the Father for the salvation of men: "This is my body which is given for you." "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins." 611) The Eucharist that Christ institutes at that moment will be the memorial of his sacrifice. Jesus includes the apostles in his own offering and bids them perpetuate it. By doing so, the Lord institutes his apostles as priests of the New Covenant: "For their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth." As Catholics, this is the primary reason to come to Mass, so that we might receive the great gift of the EUCHARIST, the gift of JESUS HIMSELF.