Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Blog # 41 - a Lamb of God

Blog # 41 - a LAMB OF GOD Years ago back in the seminary before I was ordained we seminarians created a dark room in the basement of our residence for developing photos. It was very important to have the room completely light proof, full of darkness with no white light whatsoever. I was always intrigued by the fact the darkness was very real, I knew that, but so dark and unreal to my senses that I couldn't feel it taste it hear it or smell it. It was an interesting question for me to ask could I see the darkness. I could not see anything in the room at all until I lit a special red light that would permit a limited vision of the equipment we needed to use in the process of developing our photos but would not prevent the process as white light would do. How that came about was a mystery to me, but an even greater mystery was the question what happened to the darkness when we turned on the white light without opening the locked door of the dark room and the darkness would be gone. What happened to it? Where did it go? I am still intrigued by that question particularly since I see it in reference to a prayer we use each day in the Mass which addresses Jesus as the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world. We could have used the word 'forgive' the sins of the world in that prayer but we did not. Take away is stronger than forgive. We are dealing with a spiritual reality so there is no need or room to identify or imagine a 'place' where the sins have 'gone'. The important thing is to realize Jesus is our redeemer and as the Lamb of God He takes away our sins. They are gone which implies in this case they do not exist any more just as the darkness does not exist any more when the light appears. It is still a mystery, beyond our limited capacity to understand fully but clear enough for us to realize the power wisdom and goodness of Jesus in becoming our redeemer on Calvary and in being genuinely grateful for that identity of His in relation to our sins and those of the whole world. Most people would stop here ,thankful and happy that our sins are taken away in the obedient love of Jesus. That is indeed a great gift to us. But the best part and most awesome part of it for me is not that sins are taken away but the offense to God that sin entails is atoned for and taken away in the suffering and death of Jesus. Jesus had the power and the right to win this gift for us. For this to be real Jesus would have to be divine. Sin as an offense against a fellow human being can be forgiven by the human being offended. But sin in its identity as an offense against God, which all sin is, can only be destroyed or 'taken away' by someone who is identified on the level of God, someone who is divine. From the time John pointed Jesus out as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world at the beginning of His public ministry at the River Jordan (Jn 1: 29), to the time Jesus laid down His life on the Cross in obedience to the Father' love for Jesus and for us, we have one of the stongest arguments or proofs of the divinity of Jesus. We have an opportunity of proclaiming it for Him every time we offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us, grant us peace.

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