Engaging the Gospel – John 1:29-34

2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time — Gospel: John 1:29-34

John the Baptist hails Jesus as the Lamb of God

Today’s Gospel gives us further insight into the Baptism of Jesus, and enriches our understanding of its role in salvation history.

By proclaiming Jesus as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world,” St. John the Baptist identifies him as the fulfillment of Scripture.

He “reveals that Jesus is at the same time the suffering Servant [prophesied by Isaiah] who silently allows himself to be led to the slaughter and who bears the sin of the multitudes, and also the Paschal Lamb, the symbol of Israel’s redemption at the first Passover” (Catechism paragraph 608).

Moreover, the Spirit’s coming upon Jesus is an explicit mark of the Messiah.

“In the Old Testament, the prophets announced that the Spirit of the Lord would rest on the hoped-for Messiah for his saving mission. The descent of the Holy Spirit on Jesus at his baptism by John was the sign that this was he who was to come, the Messiah, the Son of God” (1286).

For these reasons, Jesus’ Baptism is another “epiphany,” or manifestation of Him as the Messiah and Son of God.

Jesus continues to manifest Himself to us at every Mass, preeminently through the Eucharist, and we echo John’s words as we hail Him as the Lamb of God.

As St. Gregory of Nyssa (d. ca. 394/5) observed, the Eucharist completes the sacrifice of the Lamb, when Jesus gives “His own Body to His disciples for eating” (Sermon One on the Resurrection of Christ).

Question for reflection: How do I discern the presence of Christ?