Ordinary Time

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

January 15, 2023 Mass
Speaker: Fr. Lam Le

Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world (Jn 1:29)

The Christmas season concluded with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord and then the Church entered Ordinary Time.  The term is quite misleading as the Universal Norms for the Liturgical Year and Calendar no. 43 states: During the Ordinary Times, “the mystery of Christ itself is honored in its fullness.” The Holy Scriptures on this Sunday helps us to do just that.

In the Gospel today, St. John Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world” Is this proclamation of the Baptist familiar to our ears? It is so because in every Eucharistic celebration “when the Priests breaks the Eucharistic Bread. . ., the supplication Angus Dei (Lamb of God) is usually sung by the choir or cantor with the congregation replying, or it is at least recited.  This invocation accompanies the fraction of the bread, and for this reason, may be repeated as many times as necessary until the rite has been completed.  The final time it concludes with the words grant us peace” (GIRM no. 83).  Then, the priest after preparing himself by saying a prayer quietly, genuflects, takes the host and, holding it slightly raised above the paten or above the chalice, while facing the people, says aloud: “Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world.  Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb” (The Order of the Mass, no. 132).

By uttering the words of the St. John Baptist, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world” during this time of the Mass, the Church is consistent with the presentation of Jesus, the Lamb of God in the Gospel of John.  The evangelist named Jesus as the Lamb of God in the first chapter of the Gospel, but the meaning of Jesus the Lamb was given when Jesus expired on the cross (Jn 19:24).  By uttering the words of St. John Baptist before Holy Communion, the Church proclaims on this “altar, . . . the Sacrifice of the Cross made present under sacramental signs” (GIRM no. 296).  Just as the Israelites were saved by the blood of the lamb on their doorpost, so now the faithful in Holy Communion receive from this altar the Blood of Jesus, which was poured on the cross, is now on our lips and enters our souls so that we be protected from the devil.

No wonder in the “Prayer over the Offerings” of this Second Sunday of Ordinary Time, the Church prays: “Grant us, O Lord, we pray, that we may participate worthily in these mysteries, for whenever the memorial of this sacrifice is celebrated the work of our redemption is accomplished.”

Therefore, whenever we attend Mass, during the singing of Angus Dei (Lamb of God) and the priest proclaims “Behold the Lamb of God . . .”  Let us stop all chattering and fill our hearts with gratitude to allow us to receive the Blood of the Pascal Lamb, Christ our Lord. Amen.

Scriptural Readings: Reading 1 Is 49:3, 5-6; Responsorial Psalm Ps 40:2, 4, 7-8, 8-9, 10; Reading 2 1 Cor 1:1-3; Alleluia Jn 1:14a, 12a Gospel Jn 1:29-34


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