Monday, March 30, 2015

Behold the Lamb of God

The lamb embodies innocence and vulnerability.  The Lamb of God also personifies purpose and intentionality: His perfect innocence and absolute vulnerability in the face of evil are at the service of his mission.

As we (re)enter into Jerusalem with Jesus and his closest disciples for the Triduum, the three days celebrated as one, let's keep our eyes fixed upon the Lamb.  For, wherever it flows, the blood of the Lamb brings wholeness and holiness, authentic liberty and liberation.

After all, God's chosen people had been freed from slavery and death by marking their homes with the blood of a lamb.  For centuries thereafter, they had commemorated this event by sacrificing a Passover lamb and eating its flesh.  The lamb represented their powerless plight in the face of abject suffering; its blood was a sign of the intimate bond between God and the Israelites.  It was as if the Lord of hosts wanted innocent blood to flow once again through his people.

Within this covenantal context, at their final Passover meal together, Jesus offers his disciples the interpretive key which will unlock the next day's mysterious gift of his innocent life:

"Take and eat; this is my body...this is my blood of the covenant,
which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins."

(Mt 26:26-27)

Moving forward, there will be no more animal sacrifices in the Temple for the followers of Jesus.  Rather, following his command, they will consume the flesh of the Lamb of God and will mark the members of his new covenant with his blood. 

John the Baptist had, of course, foreshadowed this paschal mission shortly after Jesus' baptism in the Jordan:  "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world" (Jn 1:29).  In addition, the prophesy of Isaiah's suffering servant had foretold his fate centuries earlier: "like a lamb led to the slaughter...he was silent and opened not his mouth"--even going so far as to say--"if he gives his life as an offering for sin...the will of the Lord shall be accomplished through him" (Is 53:7,10). 

Love alone is willing to make such a self-sacrifice for the good of the beloved.  Faith alone is able to claim the words of the centurion as our own:  "Truly this man was the Son of God!" (Mk 15:39).

Ecce Agnus Dei,

P.S.  For an Easter "sneak preview," check out this rocking "alleluia" theme, Worthy is the Lamb.

P.P.S. Spread the word about the twelve-week TV series entitled AD: The Bible Continues; plus, for additional resources about the early Church, check out this link to the Archdiocese of Washington,