Behold, the Lamb of God!

January 15, 2023
Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A
Readings for Today


John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.”  John 1:29

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. Perhaps John did not know the details of how this would happen, but he didn’t need to. He was content knowing this sacred mission of the Messiah, and he was content knowing that Jesus was that Messiah.

Today, as we ponder John’s words, we are able to see them more clearly. Jesus is the One Who gave His life on the Cross for the remission of sins. He is the One Whom we now receive sacramentally in Holy Communion as that “Lamb of God.” It is His flesh and His blood, poured out for us, that we now consume with the deepest reverence and love.

At Mass, these are the final words spoken by the priest after the consecration and prior to Holy Communion. Every time we participate in the Holy Mass, we relive this moment in which John saw our Lord coming to Him.

As we begin this season of Ordinary Time, we are invited to come to know this Lamb of God more fully through His many teachings, miracles and actions done during His public ministry. In the Liturgy of the Word at every Mass, we are called to unpack these words of John, coming to understand the mystery of the life of Christ more fully. And through our participation in the reception of Holy Communion, we come to know Him Who is the Lamb of God in the most personal and intimate of ways, when we enter into holy union (Holy Communion) with Him.

Reflect, today, upon these very familiar words of Saint John the Baptist. As you do, begin by prayerfully pondering the knowledge that John might have had about Christ the first time he saw Him. Why did John say these words? How fully did he understand their meaning? Did he know that his words would be echoed throughout time? As you prayerfully ponder the interior knowledge that John might have had at that time, try also to reflect upon all that we now know about these holy words. Reflect especially upon the suffering and death of the Lamb of God and the way in which He has transmitted His Saving Sacrifice to us in Holy Communion. What a gift! What a mystery! What a joy! Behold the Lamb of God within your heart, mind and soul, and prayerfully seek to know Him more fully this day.

Glorious Lamb of God, You have come and taken away the sins of the world through the sacrifice of Your sacred life on the Cross. Please help me to understand Who You are and all that You have done for me, especially every time I come to behold You and receive You in Holy Communion. Jesus, I trust in You.

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Featured image above:  Behold the Lamb of God, via flickr