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Denaha-Epiphany,3rd S,Jan.23,11,Jn.1:35-42

Denaha 3rd S,Jan.23,11

Jn.1:35-42

There is a small church in Ernakulam,Kerala, named after St. Maximillian Kolbe. Kolbe was a Polish Franciscan priest who established monasteries of their order in Japan as well as in India. He visited Cochin on his way back from Japan to Poland. When he was working in Poland, he was arrested by the Nazis and sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. When a Jew who was called to die in starvation because of the escape of a few prisoners from the camp, he cried out calling, “ Family, Family.” Fr. Kolbe offered himself to die for the Jew. He was accepted and sent to the cell to die for starvation. Since he did not die, he was given a lethal injection. Fr. Maximillian offered his life to save the life of another fellow prisoner. He was willing to carry the burden of death for another person. Hundreds and thousands have sacrificed their lives in such a heroic manner in the history of the Christian faith. We would wonder about the source of inspiration for these heroic souls like St.Maximillian. It is none other than Our Lord himself who has offered himself for the whole of mankind to redeem them from the punishment for sins and offer eternal salvation.

In today’ Gospel, we hear about the mission and ministry of Jesus as Jesus would be the person who would carry the sin of mankind in reparation and would secure eternal life for them. St. John the Baptist sees Jesus from the angle of death and life in today’s Gospel.

St. John the Baptist, seeing Jesus at a distance, calls him “The Lamb of God” which is a term packed with a lot of meanings for Israelites. We find immediately two of the disciples of John going after Jesus and inquiring where he lives. The response of Jesus is quick: “Come and See.” Once they experience personally the life of Jesus and come to know who He is, their excitement knows no bounds. Immediately, one of them, Andrews, sees his brother, Simon, and tells him, without any doubt or vagueness: “We have found the Messiah.”

The word for Lamb, used in the address of John the Baptist, in Greek is “amnos” that refers exclusively to lambs that are meant for sacrifices at the Temple. To every Jew, brought up in the tradition of the Old Testament, lamb would represent the sacred animal set apart for sacrifice for the sins of man. It was the blood of the lambs smeared on the doorposts that saved the lives of the Israelites from the Angel of Death.”(Exod.12:11 Every day in the Temple, lambs were slaughtered and offered for the reparation of sins. Thus the term “lamb of God”, used by the John the Baptist to refer to Jesus was packed with these sacrificial meanings to the hearers.

What John implies is that Jesus would sacrifice his life for the deliverance of the people from the bondage to sin. It is that title that moves the disciples of John to abandon him and go in search of Jesus.

The passage from the Gospel is an invitation to each one of us to accept Jesus as the Savior of our lives, the One who has died for us to make us the children of God. Jesus is the one who gives us the courage to face the hardships and challenges of life and help us to face opposition or hostility. He will secure us peace and joy.

This is the Good News that we have to share with others. Jesus will never abandon us and that he will always be with us.

That is why Andrews wants to share it with his brother. We too have to invite people to come and see Jesus and experience the presence of his strength and support in their lives.

How comforting it is to know that however far we move from Him, he will never abandon us and that he will come in search of us. He is there to forgive our sins and to offer us the warmth of his love. As Archbishop Quinn, the former Archbishop of San Francisco has once said, the Catholic Church is not a museum of saints, but a hospital for sinners. Jesus is the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world.

As Andrews has told Peter, we too have to tell our friends that we have found the Christ. The world needs our witness.

Families break down and there is a lot of hostility among people. Many experience a lot of stress in their lives. They are looking for the Savior. We who have known the Savior and experienced His love and forgiveness have to share them with others. As John the Baptist points to Jesus, we too have to become pointers to Jesus, inviting people to experience the presence of Jesus in their lives and to remain with Him.

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