Thursday, March 28, 2013

Holy Thursday: Why the Lamb of God?

"Behold the Lamb of God, behold He Who taketh away the sins of the world."
~John 1: 29

Before Our Lord suffered, He celebrated the Jewish rite which, above all, foreshadowed His own sacred sufferings. The Paschal Lamb was an exact figure type of Him, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

Almighty God, the Father, gave the Paschal lamb as the figure-type to the future Messiah and the means to deliver His people from their cruel bondage in Egypt. The lamb’s blood on the doorposts of the people’s houses caused the avenging Angel to “pass over” and leave those within unharmed…

The Jews annually remembered the night that God released them from the slavery of Egypt and spared their lives as the Angel of Death passed over the land. The Paschal lamb was drained of the last drop of its blood. With it, there were also bitter herbs, unleavened bread, wine and water.

The promise of the Jewish Pasch is completely fulfilled in Jesus, the Lamb of God, Who has released us from the bondage of sin with His Most Precious Blood. Like the Paschal Lamb, the Lamb of God gave His Life as a sacrifice, His Blood pouring and trickling from Him until He was drained of It. The last drops of His Most Precious Blood gushed forth with water when His Most Sacred Heart was pierced by a lance. How can we ever thank Him? How can we ever love Him enough?

The little lamb endures meekly. It never murmurs against its lot, or struggles against those who lead it here and there, unlike swine, who grunt and grumble at every attempt to control them. None was ever so submissive as the Lamb of God --- “Lo, I come to do Thy will, O my God.” Christ, Our Lord, was telling His Father: I am ready to do it – I long to do it! Can we echo those words?

The name by which St. John the Baptist first greeted Jesus was that of “Lamb of God.” From this we learn the prominent features of Our Lord’s character ---the gentleness, meekness, simplicity, and guilelessness of the Lamb. This is what made Him so attractive; His sweetness drew all to Him. Our Jesus is just the same now. In Heaven, He is still the Lamb: still gentle and loving as ever. With what confidence we ought to approach Him and tell Him of all our love, all our difficulties, and more.

All of the beautiful, winning gentleness and sweetness of the Lamb of God is not merely natural. It is the Divine Charity manifesting itself in the Sacred Humanity.

Jesus, the Son of God, the Son of Mary all of Mary’s children must excel in these virtues, since they are bound to be close imitators of Christ. God will give those virtues to us if we persevere in seeking them and practicing them. "Grace perfects nature;" God’s almighty Grace can make us gentle and meek.

The office of the Lamb of God – the work He was sent to do – was to “take away” the sins of the world. Meekness possesses a wonderful power – “the meek shall possess the land.” Meekness takes away sin. To bear reproaches meekly is one of the best means of expiating our own sins and those of others. Meekness wins for sinners the grace of repentance. Meekness obtains God’s peace for our souls.

When we contrast our hearts with the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Lamb of God, do we find that we are trying to imitate Him to the best of our ability?

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto Thine!

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