Based on the Gospel of John 1:29-34
Testimony and witness. John the Baptist recognizes Jesus as the Messiah. In this Sunday’s Gospel, John proclaims the truth about Jesus when he says, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.”
Since Old Testament times, lambs were offered as sacrifices in the Temple of Jerusalem. It was a way of atoning for sins and reconciling with God. John called Jesus the “Lamb of God” because Jesus would sacrifice his life on the cross for all people.
John also testified, “I was there and saw the Spirit come down on him like a dove from heaven. And the Spirit stayed with him. He is the one you must follow now, for he will baptize you not just with water, but also with the Holy Spirit. He is the Son of God.”
John the Baptist’s work was almost finished. He had been preparing the people to listen to Jesus. Because of his faith and love for Jesus and his willingness to risk everything to witness for him, John eventually loses his life testifying for Jesus.
The words, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world,” proclaimed for the first time by John, are found several times in the Holy Mass. For example, after the sign of peace, the priest breaks the consecrated bread just as Jesus did at the Last Supper. We sing or say, “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.”
At Communion time, the priest says, “This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Happy are those who are called to his supper.” We answer, “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.”
Jesus gives himself to us in holy Communion to give us the strength and grace to grow in and to love our faith. Like John, we are asked to witness for Jesus – to testify (proclaim) the truth about him, by our words and actions, and thus bring people to Jesus.
In this Sunday’s second reading, Paul describes Christians as “sanctified in Christ Jesus” and “called to be holy.” It is through Jesus, as the sacrificial Lamb of God, that we can ask for the forgiveness of our sins, reconciliation with God, the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit, and call upon God as our Father as we live our faith. Jesus is our Savior!