Jan 14, 2017

On the roof of a Catholic Church in Werden, Germany, one can see the stone carving of a lamb. There is a story behind that stone. A man was working on the roof of this church, when his safety rope broke and he pitched headlong into the churchyard below. The yard was clustered with huge stones. But the man was not hurt seriously. Below two of the blocks a LAMB was nibbling grass. The man fell on the lamb, crushing it to death, and breaking what would be a fatal fall. In gratitude that workman carved a lamb out of a stone and placed it on the roof. It was a gracious way of expressing his thanks to the dumb animal that unknowingly saved his life.

Much deeper and more meaningful is our gratitude to Jesus, the Lamb of God, for saving us from the eternally fatal fall from grace. Willingly and lovingly Christ gave His life that we might live. That is what St. John is talking about when he calls out in today’s Gospel: “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” His listeners could understand, because in the Old Testament lambs were frequently used in sacrifice. They were figures of Jesus Christ who was to take away the sins of the world. Calling Christ a Lamb expresses the fact that He is the one to be sacrificed, the One who could reconcile God with man.

These figures of the Old Law were fulfilled in the New. Not only in this Sunday’s Gospel is Christ called a Lamb. St. Peter also speaks of Christ as a Lamb (1Pt. 1: 19) In the Apocalypse St. John calls the Son Of God a Lamb at least 27 times. He points Christ out as the lamb that was slain for all the sins of men of all tribes and nations. He also emphasized the truth that this Lamb is the true Son of God, that He strengthens His followers and that He conquers Satan.

No wonder we, followers of Christ constantly call upon Him under the sweet and simple title – Lamb of God. In a few moments, just before Communion time, we sing out: “Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world, have mercy on us.” Sing to Him with all of your heart. That workman in Werden, Germany, carved a grateful memorial to the Lamb that unwittingly saved his life. How much more grateful we should be as we offer our Sunday Mass, the living memorial to the Lamb who willingly and lovingly gave His all for you and me.

The Disciples’ Vocation: Deeply moved by the experience, Andrew seeks out his brother Simon and brings him to Jesus. The Lord greets him: “You will be called Kephas” – Rock. The next day encountering Philip, Jesus tells him: “Follow me.” Philip finds his friend Nathanael and, challenging his skepticism, introduces him to the Lord. Soon Nathanael too is convinced: “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.”

In this Monday, we remember Martin Luther King Jr Day. On the 17th, we have the memorial of St. Anthony. From the 18th to 25th we start the Prayer for Christian Unity in the Church. On the 20th the memorials of St. Fabian, Pope and St. Sebastian, a soldier, both martyrs are celebrated in different places. On the 21st, St. Agnes’ feast day is commemorated. This is all for now, watch for the next bulletin. FYI: This week starts my one month vacation in the Philippine. Pray for me as I pray for you in many Churches I visit. Adios!

Your Priest – Servant and Parochial Administrator,

Fr. Reggie