In both the first and second readings, God calls individuals to His service entrusting them with a mission. The first reading is from the “Songs of the Suffering Servant” in Isaiah, where the prophet was chosen by God from his mother’s womb and consecrated to be a “light to the nations.” Here,aspects of Jesus’ own life, as sacrificial lamb, and mission, as salvation of the world, are foreshadowed.
In the second reading, Paul reminds the Corinthian Christians that they, like all who call on the name of Jesus, are “sanctified and called to be holy.” They are called by God and consecrated in Christ Jesus for a life of holiness and service. As believers, we too have been called by God to become members of Christ’s Body by our Baptism, and we are consecrated in Christ Jesus for a life of holiness and service.
The Gospel passage presents three themes, namely, the witness John the Baptist bears to Jesus, the revelation (epiphany) and identification of Jesus as the “Lamb of God,” and the call to discipleship. John’s first declaration probably brought five pictures of the “lamb” to the minds of his Jewish listeners. 1) The Lamb of Yearly Atonement (Lv 16:20-22) used on Yom Kippur. 2) The Lamb of Daily Atonement (Ex 29:38-42; Nm 28:1-8). 3) The Paschal Lamb(Ex. 12:11ss). 4)The Lamb of the Prophets(Jer 11:19), (Is 53:7). 5) The Lamb of the Conquerors.
1) We need to live and die like the Lamb of God.
(A) Live like a lamb by:
i) leading pure, innocent, humble, selfless lives, obeying the Christ’s commandment of love;
ii) appreciating the loving providence and protecting care of the Good Shepherd in His Church;
iii) eating the Body and drinking the Blood of the Good Shepherd and deriving spiritual strength from the Holy Spirit through the Holy Bible, the Sacraments and our prayers.
(B) Die like a sacrificial lamb by:
i) the sacrificial sharing our blessings of health, wealth, and talents with others in the family, parish, and community;
ii) bearing witness to Christ in our illness, pain, and suffering;
iii) offering our sufferings for the salvation of souls and in reparation for our sins and those of others.
2) We need to be witnesses to the Lamb of God by our exemplary lives.
Today’s Gospel reminds us that being a disciple of Jesus means that we are to grow by Faith to become witnesses for him. And bearing witness to Christ is an active, not passive, lifetime enterprise. One cannot be a disciple of Jesus at a distance, any more than one can be a distant lover.
3) We are invited to “Come and see.” The essence of our witnessing is to state what we have seen and believed and then to invite others to “come and see” our experience of Jesus. As with Andrew and John, Faith begins with our responding to Jesus’ invitation to “come and see.” We tell others about good restaurants, barbers, optometrists, etc. Why isn’t there the same fervor over inviting and encouraging people to come and participate in our Church activities? If we are not willing to invite others into this experience, what does that say about our experiences with Christ and with our Church?