Behold the Lamb of God (Served Warm)

My wife has four wonderful sisters.

Each equally musical as they are generous, artistic, and Holy Spirit filled.

I’m so blessed to have married into her family.

About two weeks ago, one sister called and said “please come pick up lamb stew I made for you.”

I drove right over (just a few miles away) bringing my own Tupperware.

She took the stew right off the stove top and poured it in, still steaming.

I had a hunch my wife wouldn’t be happy to hear it was lamb stew, so I just said “your sister sent over stew.”

When she opened the container she said “is this lamb?”

“Yes” I had to admit, and my finicky wife, who could smell the lamb meat, turned her nose up and ate something else.

My two sons and I loved it and the big bowl was empty in no time.

In today’s Gospel, unlike me, John the Baptist has no trouble announcing what he’s experiencing.

Check this out, John 1:29-34;

John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said,
“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.
He is the one of whom I said,
‘A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me
because he existed before me.’
I did not know him,
but the reason why I came baptizing with water
was that he might be made known to Israel.”
John testified further, saying,
“I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from heaven
and remain upon him.
I did not know him,
but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me,
‘On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain,
he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’
Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.”

There are several interesting and not so subtle remarks in this passage, made by John the Baptist.

For John the Prophet to say twice “I did not know him” it makes one wonder what he could mean.

Remember, his mother Elizabeth was a relative of the Virgin Mary.

We also know that Mary visited her elder relative during the time both were expecting.

John even leapt in the womb when Mary’s voice reached Elizabeth’s ears.

So how could John say, without meaning something else “I did not know him”?

Here’s my theory….cover your eyes, or X-out now,  if you don’t want pro-Sacramental teaching.

First of all, John proclaims what he sees is The Lamb of God–not just a sacrificial reference-but a blatant description of food.

Lamb was the red meat the masses ate back then, and, believe it or not, it remains the most widely consumed.

Even with McDonald’s pushing beef world-wide, lamb has served billions more.

It would be hard to argue that John’s reference to Jesus as “lamb” would make no connection to food with the great crowd that heard him preach.

John also very likely did know Jesus, but the word “know,” in the context of this announcement of the Lamb of God as “food,” was still yet to be understood by the world or even the Church.

Just like my wife knew the smell and taste of lamb, John did too, but he was patiently waiting for that first meal to be served.

It took three more years, and the death of John.

Finally, culminating on the night of the last supper, as the Lord reveals the Eucharist, and the New Covenant in the same meal, Jesus allows his sacrifice on the altar, our soul saving meal, to unfold.

“OK….wait a minute” some might be saying “this is a reference to the sacrificial Lamb of God, that takes away the sin of the world and you’re adding way too much to it, putting the emphasis on the wrong mission of the lamb.”

Really?

Are you sure you want that to be your rebuttal?

You don’t want to back out?

Good.

Check this out–Exodus 12:1-13…there you can see you’re part right, if you believed the Lamb of God was a sacrificial offering to cover our sins….and by the way, the command “eat” is also mentioned a few times, six that I counted.

 1 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, 2 “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. 3 Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. 4 If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. 5 The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. 6 Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. 7 Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the door frames of the houses where they eat the lambs. 8 That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. 9 Do not eat the meat raw or boiled in water, but roast it over a fire—with the head, legs and internal organs. 10 Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it. 11 This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the LORD’s Passover. 12 “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD. 13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.

One of the greatest treasures we Catholics have is the love (Communion) we share with God our Father through the Lord’s Supper.

We call it Holy Eucharist.

For some it’s just a symbol, yet God the Father never told Moses and Aaron that the lamb they were commanded to slaughter was just a symbol, it was there to be consumed.

No waste was permitted either.

The sacrifice of Jesus, if seen as only symbolic, cannot possibly maximize the lamb’s death.

He too, as declared throughout John 6, is the flesh we’re again commanded to eat, or, have no life in us.

Check out verses 53-55;

 53 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.

It’s never boring, the supper of the Lord that is, it wipes away sin, and most of all, it’s commanded.

That’s something we know.

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