JESUS, THE LAMB OF GOD – Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

1 Sam 3:3-10, 19; Ps. 40:2, 4, 7-8, 8-9, 10; 1 Cor 6:13-15, 17-20; Jn 1:35-42
Fernando Armellini SCJ
Claretian Publications

The calling of the first apostles happened by Jordan river, according to John the evangelist. The baptist, captured the true identity of Jesus, as the ‘Lamb of God’. In his mind, nothing summed up the identity of Jesus like ‘the Lamb of God.’ 

Every Israelite immediately understood the allusion to the paschal lamb whose blood, placed on the doorposts of the houses in Egypt, had saved their fathers from the slaughter of the exterminating angel.

The Baptist saw the fate of Jesus: he would one day be sacrificed like a lamb and his blood would take away from the forces of evil the capacity to cause harm. His sacrifice would redeem man from sin and death. Noticing that Jesus was condemned at noon of the day before Easter (Jn 19:14), the evangelist John has certainly wanted to draw this same symbolism. Indeed, it was the time when the priests began to sacrifice the lambs in the temple.

In this text, the image of the lamb is linked to the destruction of sin. Jesus—the Baptist meant to say—will take charge of all the weaknesses, all the miseries, all the iniquities of people and, by his meekness, with the gift of his life, will annihilate them. He will not remove the evil by giving a sort of amnesty, a restoration. He will win it by introducing in the world a new dynamism, an irresistible force, his Spirit, who will bring people to goodness and life. 

The Baptist has also in mind the sacrifice of Isaac. While on the way to the mountain of Moriah, Isaac asked his father, “The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for the sacrifice?” Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the sacrifice” (Gen 22:7-8).

“Here is the Lamb of God!”—the Baptist now attests. It is Jesus, God’s gift to the world to be sacrificed in lieu of the sinner deserving of punishment. 

In addition to that of the lamb, in today’s passage we find other significant titles directed to Jesus. The first two disciples call him, rabbi, teacher (v. 38), a not so particularly significant title. After spending a whole day with him, Andrew realizes that he is not only a great character; he reveals to his brother Simon: “We have found the Messiah.” Then, Philip speaks of Jesus as the one of whom Moses and the prophets have written (Jn 1:45) and for Nathaniel, he will even be the son of God, the King of Israel (Jn 1:49).

A furtive encounter with Jesus is not enough to discover his identity. It is necessary to remain with him, spend the whole day, that is, every moment of life, in his home.

Abridged by Fr  Jijo Kandamkulathy CMF

Seek-and-Find Stories

Edmond Lo

What we see in the first reading is a seek-and-find story: God seeking and finding Samuel. Man’s first response to God’s calling, as made clear in Samuel’s reaction, should be discernment. Whose voice was this? Eli, did you call me? If it wasn’t you, who could it be?

To discern properly, one must seek good counselling, as Samuel did from Eli. “If you are called, reply, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening,’” (1 Sam 3:9) instructed Eli. In other words, prepare your heart (to humble yourself to work as God’s “servant”) and open up your ears (to “listen” and be receptive to God’s summon, which in Samuel’s case was to be a prophet).

What we see in the gospel reading is another seek-and-find story: man seeking and finding God. To seek God effectively, as demonstrated by the sequence of events involving the two disciples, man must first hear the Good News. In John’s gospel, the proclaimer of Good News was John the Baptist, who testified to Jesus’ divine Sonship (cf. Jn 1:34) and invited the two disciples to “Behold, the Lamb of God” (Jn 1:36). St. Paul explains why the preaching of the Good News is important for people who are looking for God:

And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach?…As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring (the) good news!” (Rm 10:14-15).

Not everyone will take heed of the Good News. Only those whose hearts are yearning to know the truth will. The two disciples in John’s gospel “heard” John the Baptist’s Good News and “followed Jesus”. The question they asked Jesus indicates clearly their strong desire to get to the bottom of the truth: “Rabbi, where are you staying?” (Jn 1:38).

Interestingly, the Church uses this beautiful gospel passage as an assigned reading for the Rite of Acceptance in which RCIA inquirers seeking to enter the Church are admitted into the second phase of their catechetical journey – the catechumenate. Jesus’ question to the two disciples is also the Church’s question to the RCIA inquirers: “What are you looking for?” (John 1:38). Like the two disciples, the inquirers’ response is: “Rabbi (Jesus), where are you staying?” Their response prompts the Church to extend her invitation: “Come and see!” (Jn 1:39). Simple as it is, this dialogue captures nicely what the catechumenate is all about:  “Come and see!”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.