Thursday, November 20, 2014
Lamb: Daily Mass Homily--Thursday, November 20th, 2014
(Listen to this homily here).
One of the first times we see a reference to a lamb in the Bible comes in the testing of Abraham. We remember the story well, how Abraham was asked to sacrifice his son Isaac to demonstrate his fidelity to God. Yet before he succeeds God calls out, “Abraham! Abraham! Do not lay your hand on the boy.” God then promises to provide them with a lamb for sacrifice. Abraham and Isaac look into the bushes and see a ram (not a lamb!).
The lamb shows up again in the book of Exodus. The Israelites were to sacrifice an unblemished lamb, spread its blood on their doorposts and eat it as a sacrifice. This would cause the angel of death to pass over them and spare them from death.
When Jesus enters the scene in the Gospels, John the Baptist heralds, “Behold the lamb of God!” This is exactly what the priest says at Mass to proclaim the coming of Christ in the Eucharist.
Our first reading today, featuring dreams of heavenly worship, also cites a lamb: “Then I saw standing in the midst of the throne and the four living creatures and the elders a Lamb that seemed to have been slain.” The book of Revelation, especially in passages like these, directly connect the Mass we pray today with the reality in heaven for all eternity. It is all about the sacrifice and the wedding feast of the Lamb!Thus we pray today, “Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us. Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us. Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, grant us peace.”