Jan 20, 2008

Homily for the 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A - Jan 20, 2008 - Cronulla

View the readings: Readings: Is 49:3.5-6, 1 Cor: 1-1-3, Jn 1:29-34

Today, the Church returns to wearing green vestments and we are reminded once again about the normality and the routines of life. Even within the day to day grind of life, we are called to look and to see Jesus.

7 weeks ago we started the journey towards Christmas with Advent. In Advent we were called by John the Baptist to “Prepare a way for the Lord” and to “Make straight his path.”

But how much closer are we to preparing the way for Lord? Has anything changed? We have celebrated Christmas, we have celebrated New Years, and shortly school will start again, the holidays will be over, and life will go on as normal.

Have we changed? Have we made any resolutions? Are we more committed to Christ and the journey towards eternal life than we were before Advent began?


In Today’s Gospel, John the Baptist points us towards Jesus. He tells us “Look” and says “there is the lamb of God.”

Have we looked for Jesus? Have we seen Jesus in our midst, in our lives and in our families?

There is a famous nursery rhyme that most of us would remember from our childhood days.

It begins: Mary had a little lamb, little lamb, little lamb,

Mary had a little lamb, its fleece was white as snow.

My friends, this nursery rhyme originated in England during the 16 to 1700s as a tool to explain the faith to children.

It recognises Mary, the mother of Jesus, as having a lamb. It recognises the purity and the whiteness of Jesus the lamb.

          The “Lamb of God” is a title familiar to each us. During every Mass, we proclaim what John the Baptist said through the song: “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, have mercy on us/grant us peace.”

The Lamb of God prayer gives expression to the identity and purpose of Jesus Christ. But what does Lamb of God mean? We say it every Mass? It must be significant, but I know with myself I can sometimes become routine with the prayers at Mass, especially those we say over and over again.

The “Lamb of God” is perhaps the most meaningful title given to Jesus in the Scriptures. It is used 29 times in the Book of Revelation alone. “Lamb of God” sums up the love, sacrifice and the triumph of Christ. It tells us about who Jesus is and his mission and purpose. It refers to sacrificial love, it refers to our salvation and redemption and it refers to Christ’s victory over death.  


For the Jewish people (and for us as attentive listens to the Words of the Old Testament): the Lamb of God calls 5 pictures to mind:

1. The Lamb of Atonement (Lev. 16:20-22). This lamb was blessed and the sins of the people were transferred to the lamb by the laying on of hands of the High Priest. Then the lamb was sent into the wild to devoured by wild animals.

2. The Lamb of Daily Atonement (Ex. 29:38-42; Num. 28:1-8) was a lamb which was sacrificed to God every morning and evening to atone, to make up for the sins of the Jews.

3. The Paschal Lamb (Ex.12:11) was the lamb whose blood was placed over the doors of the Jewish families in Egypt to save the people from the ‘Angel of destruction’. This Paschal Lamb also reminds of the Passover. It also reminds of Easter, of Christ’s victory over death through the shedding of his blood.    

4. The Lamb portrayed by the Prophets as the innocent to the slaughter.

5. The Lamb of the Conquerors. On the ancient Jewish flag, at the time of Maccabean liberation war, there was a picture of a horned lamb, used as a sign of a conquering majesty and power. Samuel, David and Solomon were described by the ancient Jewish historians as “horned lambs.” 


My friends, Christ is the Lamb of God. The Hebrew Scriptures (the Old Testament) bears witness to Christ as the Lamb of God. The New Testament, over and over again tells us that Christ is the Lamb of God. Our Christian Tradition and liturgy tells us to pray to Christ under the title of Lamb of God on a daily basis.

Do we, like John the Baptist, see the Lamb of God?

Do we, like John the Baptist, direct others towards the Lamb of God?

Our witness is to proclaim aloud what we have seen and believe. Our witness is to invite others to “Look,” to "come and see."

For John the Baptist, faith begins by responding to the invitation to "come and see."

My friends, we tell others about good restaurants, movies, shops, hairdressers, etc. Why isn't there the same fervour over inviting and encouraging people to come and participate in our Church activities, our Sunday worship, our bible studies, our Lenten programs, our courses and our ministries?

Invitations are important, and the role of inviting people to the Church is not only my responsibility and it is not Father’s responsibility. The role of talking about the faith, talking about Christ belongs to each and every one of you. I don’t have the access to talk with your friends, to talk with your colleagues at work, or your associates at the bowls club or the golf club. I represent Christ and his Church, but each and everyone of you also represent Christ and his Church. Each and every one of you is called to be like John the Baptist: to point the way to Christ.

I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that some of us have never invited a friend (Catholic or non-Catholic) to a regular Sunday Mass, or to any program in the parish.

That’s ok. It’s never too late to begin. Perhaps inviting someone to the Church is something we could do this year.

Often we may hesitate to talk about faith or to invite people because we feel that talking about religion is a bad thing in our culture.

Often people think that religion is a private matter and it shouldn't be shared with others.

Other people are scared because they feel they don’t have much of a personal faith to share, or that their knowledge of the faith is not good or that our worship services would not be appealing to non-Catholics because we find it boring ourselves at times.

My friends, our faith should make us want others, our friends and our families, to see Jesus. Do not be afraid to share the message with those we know.

The Lamb of God, the innocent victim sacrificed for us, the Lamb who destroys death and opens eternal life to each of us. Jesus is the Lamb of God who heals our relationships and gives us peace.

My friends, Jesus is what we are looking at. This is what John the Baptist pointed us towards and this is what we should be showing to other people. The world wants healing and peace. Let us offer them the greatest healing possible: Jesus himself.

Mary had a little lamb, and every where that Mary went, the lamb was sure to go.”

Are we willing to take the Lamb of God with us every where we go? Are we willing to be identified as friends of Jesus every moment of our life?

John the Baptist said: “Look, there is the lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.”

How will we respond?


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