2ND SUNDAY HOMILY IN ORDINARY TIME, YEAR B
THEME: Answering the Call of the Lamb of God
BY: Fr. Anthony O. Ezeaputa
In our gospel reading (John 1:35–42), we read that John the Baptist, who is with two of his disciples, including Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, sees Jesus approaching and cries out, “Behold, the Lamb of God” (John 1:36). Andrew and his unnamed companion begin to follow Jesus, walking behind him, eager to learn more about this mysterious figure.
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When Jesus turns to Andrew and his companion, He asks a question that resonates deeply within each of us: “What are you looking for?” (John 1:38). His question is an invitation for them and for us to confront the most fundamental desires that drive us. What am I looking for in Jesus Christ? What do I truly desire in Catholicism?
The right way to respond might be: “Lord, I’m seeking a deeper sense of purpose and meaning in my life. I want to follow you and learn from your teachings so that I can become another you.” On the other hand, the wrong way to respond might be: “I’m looking for a quick fix to my problems, Lord. Make my life easier and grant me and my family success and happiness.”
Andrew replies, “Rabbi, “where are you staying?” And Jesus replies, “Come, and you will see” (John 1:38–39). This is a question and an invitation to consider whether Jesus is the one whom Moses and the prophets foretold and whether he truly is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
Andrew and his companion spent the rest of the day with Jesus, symbolizing their transition from being disciples of John the Baptist to becoming followers of Jesus. This shift represents a theological “transfer” of their allegiance and commitment. And it signifies the essence of Christian discipleship, where individuals surrender their lives to Jesus, embrace His teachings, and trust in His redemptive mission.
After his life-changing encounter with Jesus, Andrew hastens to share the magnificent news with his brother Simon Peter, exclaiming, “We have found the Messiah” (John 1:41). This moment embodies the apostolic dimension of Christian discipleship, where the transformative experience of encountering Jesus compels us to proclaim the Good News to others so they may also encounter and come to know Christ intimately.
This apostolic dimension of Christian discipleship echoes the Great Commission, where we are called to go forth and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19), sharing the transformative love of Christ with a world in need of redemption.
Here are three practical ways to share our Catholic faith:
Volunteer at a local soup kitchen or food bank. Not only will you be serving those in need, but you’ll also have the opportunity to share your faith with others through your actions and words.
Invite a friend or family member to attend Mass with you. This can be a great way to introduce others to the Catholic faith and share your love for Christ.
Participate in evangelization events or initiatives organized by your diocese or parish. This could include things like prayer vigils or community outreach programs.
Remember that ‘faith is not a weapon to be wielded against others but a precious gift to be shared with joy and humility.’ By embracing this perspective, we can foster genuine connections and inspire others to explore the love and grace of God (Henri Nouwen).
John the Baptist’s proclamation, “Behold, the Lamb of God,” resonates deeply in our liturgical tradition, particularly during the Mass. Its significance can be unpacked through two primary interpretative keys: the Jewish Passover and the Servant Song in the book of Isaiah.
John’s account of the crucifixion of Jesus reveals a profound connection to the sacrificial lambs slaughtered in the Temple on the Day of Preparation. As the Passover feast approaches, Jewish leaders request Pilate to expedite the removal of the crucified bodies, including the body of Jesus, to avoid Sabbath desecration.
In striking parallel, when the soldiers come to break the legs of Jesus, they find that he has already died, thus fulfilling the prophecy that not a single bone of the Passover lamb will be broken. This coincidence underscores the role of Jesus as the ultimate Passover Lamb, whose sacrifice liberates humanity from the shackles of sin and inaugurates a new covenant.
The so-called Second Isaiah contains (chapters 40–66) four “Servant Songs” that promise redemption and victory to a suffering servant of Yahweh. The fourth of these songs (Isaiah 53:4–7) depicts a mysterious figure, despised and rejected, who bears the sins of others as a sacrificial lamb.
Early Christians recognized the fulfillment of this prophecy in Jesus. He is the Lamb of God, who, through his suffering, death, and resurrection, embodies the servant’s role and takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29).
The image of the Lamb of God highlights the role of Jesus as a sacrificial offering and His mission to redeem humanity from sin. It helps us gain a deeper understanding of the Eucharistic sacrifice and the salvific mission of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, who willingly offered Himself for our redemption.
In conclusion, let us choose to trust in the guidance of the Lamb of God and examine our motivations for following Him. Let us also pray for the strength and grace to boldly share our faith with others through Christ, our Lord. Amen.
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