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Second Sunday,A.Jan.20,02.Jn.1:29-34

2nd Sund.A,Jan.20,’02

All the readings of today continue to expand the meaning of the epiphany that we celebrated a few days ago. The words of the Prophet Isaiah as well as John the Baptist make us go deeper into the nature and role of the Messiah.

The Redemptive role of Jesus is very powerfully brought out in the words of John the Baptist. Declining any special role for himself, John the Baptist points to Jesus as “ the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”

The Lamb of God is an image replete with several meanings for the audience of John the Baptist. In the Genesis, we find Abel offering a lamb as a sacrifice for sins. Later Isaac asks Abraham:” where is the lamb?” Abraham answers;” God will provide himself with a young beast for a sacrifice, my son.” In the Book of Leviticus, there is the mention of a scapegoat that carries the sins of the people into the desert. According to the Leviticus, Aaron after placing both hands on the goat’s head confesses all the sinful faults and transgressions of the Israelites and sends it to a desolated place. It is all these images that crowd into the minds of the people when John the Baptist calls him as the Lamb of God.

The opposition between Jesus and the world is highlighted when John the Baptist points out that the Lamb of God takes away the sin of the world. What John is saying is this:

Jesus will be a victim, will suffer, will undergo the same treatment as all the lambs that are offered as victims. But his death will not be in vain. He will carry the sin of the world. By his death he will redeem the world and will give the world a new direction and vision.

All these powerful symbols in Jewish history charged with many layers of meanings, acquired through the centuries of Jewish salvation history get unraveled when John the Baptist points to Jesus, saying “This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the World”.

As John the Baptist has indicated, the world will always be in opposition to the message of Jesus. When Jesus preaches love for one another, the world preaches a different message: the world would say, others mean nothing, make as much profit as possible, increase your power, wealth and live for yourself.

When Jesus wants us to share our wealth, to give our coat to the one who asks for it, the world encourages us to try to accumulate as much as possible. When Jesus asks us to be reconciled with one another and not to harbor hatred, the world encourages us to think that our protection consists in the use of arms, or the possession of weapons.

When Jesus asks us to live chastely and follow the commandments of the Lord, the world makes it appear that everything is all right so long as it is convenient to us. The sacred laws concerning the unity of marriage are thrown aside for our convenience. Divorces, pre-marital sex and all kinds of sexual deviations are accepted as norms by a society which has traded its soul for transient moments of pleasure.

The moral laws based on the commandments of the Lord are ignored because we think they cause us inconvenience, restrict our freedom and because the violation of these laws does not bring about any serious physical harm or injury as the violation of the physical laws of gravity.

When people march for life, for the protection of the unborn and the defenseless, the world would deride them and make fun of them as enemies of freedom.

May the moral laws written in our heart and nourished by the blood of the Lamb help us to make the right choices in life and to walk beside Jesus, the Light of the Nations.


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