Saturday, January 14, 2012

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B
1 Samuel 3:3-10, 19; 1 Corinthians 6:13-15, 17-20; John 1:35-42

“Behold the Lamb of God.” “Rabbi, where are you staying?” “Come, and you will see.” This Sunday the readings focus our attention on moments when God calls us and our response to that call. In today’s First Reading we listen to how God calls the young Samuel, who experiences the call of God while asleep. God calls him three times that night, and each time he runs to his Master Eli without realizing that it was God who was calling him. Samuel is actually in profound conversation with God. When he is called again Samuel responds to God and offers himself saying, “Speak, for your servant is listening,” a sign of preparedness to serve.

In the Gospel, we read about the call of the first two disciples. The call starts with John the Baptist watching Jesus go by. John points out Jesus to two of his disciples, saying, “Behold the lamb of God.” Why does John the Baptist use this phrase? The title Lamb of God for Jesus appears only in the Gospel of John, with the initial proclamation: "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" in John 1:29. This title reaffirms John 1:36, the text we have in this Sunday Gospel passage. The proclamation takes place in the presence of the first two disciples of Jesus, who immediately follow him. These two proclamations of Jesus as the Lamb of God are closely linked to the Baptist's other proclamation in John 1:34: "I have borne witness that this is the Son of God". At the baptism of Jesus, John witnessed the Holy Spirit descending on Jesus and the Father declaring Him to be His Son. Therefore John knew that Jesus was the Messiah that had been prophesied in the book of Isaiah 53:7, "He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before his shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth." In the Old Testament, the Israelites sacrificed lambs at the Passover feast (Ex. 12:21) and as offerings (Lev. 14:10-25). Jesus Christ is the Lamb that God would give as a sacrifice for the sins not only of Israel, but of the whole world (Is. 52:13-53:12). In that one masterful sentence, John summarizes the whole of God’s plan of salvation revealed throughout the Old Testament. John therefore uses the phrase “Behold the Lamb of God” to authenticate that revelation and give witness to it. This witness is so convincing that two of his disciples decide to follow Jesus. Then the conversation continues when Jesus looks back and sees the two disciples following him. “What are you looking for?” Their response was, “Rabbi, where are you staying?” They are so attracted to the person of Jesus that they want to be with him, and Jesus simply tells them, “Come, and you will see.” So they went and saw where Jesus was staying and stayed with him that day. What message do we take home this Sunday? 1) Like the young Samuel, you and I are called by God, but at times we need guidance to understand that call. 2) Like the first disciples of Jesus, we yearn for Jesus and suddenly someone points Jesus to us. We follow Him and discover how wonderful being with Him is. 3) Now that we have become His disciples, Jesus sends us to tell others about Him and to bring them to be his disciples too.

©2012 John S. Mbinda

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