Living the Gospel – January 19, 2020

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Lamb of God

“Behold, the Lamb of God.” John the Baptist identified Jesus as the prophesized savior. A lamb was sacrificed by the Israelites and the blood smeared on the doorposts to mark the home of a devout Hebrew. The blood of the lamb, in effect, saved them as the angel of death passed over. The Jewish people recognized the importance of that sacrifice in their celebration of the Passover. Now Jesus was identified as the sacrificial lamb, pure and undefiled. His mission to save us had begun.

The following day, John the Baptist once again pointed him out and verified he was the Lamb of God. Two of his followers, John and Andrew, turned and followed Jesus. They were called to follow Jesus. It was their mission. As I rose up from the baptismal waters, I too was given the mission to follow Jesus. I was called to give to God all my soul, heart, and mind. And that’s a lot easier than it sounds. It isn’t that hard to “follow” by attending Mass each week. But that’s only a fraction of what we do each week. One hour out of 168 is hardly loving God with everything I have. Even if I were to add the lay ministries and the parish council work I do, it isn’t a complete turning myself to God and following him. Total devotion to God doesn’t mean becoming a priest or a nun; it has to involve frequent prayers, recognizing God alive in others, and changing my daily priorities. My mission involves a level of devotion that calls for action even unto death. That is scary. Sacrificing the “inner me” in favor of following Jesus is a totality I hold back.

I love my family and would sacrifice almost all for them. I’m not sure where I would draw the line, but I think there is one. But with Jesus, I mustn’t hold back. There can’t be a red line. Love for the Son of God, the Lamb, must be even stronger than my love for my family, or for my self-described identity. But that depth of love is where I, like others, fall short. The Savior I try to follow loves me anyway, which makes it even more important that I continue to do all I can to be a true follower of the Lamb of God.

Linda Crowley