Tuesday Before Epiphany
1st Reading: 1Jn 2:29—3:6
If you consider that God is righteous, you also know that everyone who acts in righteousness is begotten by him. See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope based on him makes himself pure, as he is pure. Everyone who commits sin commits lawlessness, for sin is lawlessness. You know that he was revealed to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who remains in him sins; no one who sins has seen him or known him.
Gospel: Jn 1:29-34
John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. He is the one of whom I said, ‘A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.’ I did not know him, but the reason why I came baptizing with water was that he might be made known to Israel.” John testified further, saying, “I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from the sky and remain upon him. I did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain, he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.”
Behold, the Lamb of God: The Gospel presents us John the Baptist who would now willingly retreat to the backstage. He has pointed out to all, the Lamb of God, who by his passion and death would redeem the world. The Lamb of God came to take away our sins and to make us children of God. In and through him we experience the divine love that makes us God’s children (as highlighted in the first reading) and receive as well a call to partake of the heavenly banquet. Celebrating the Holy Name of Jesus is an occasion to reflect on the mystery of redemption; the mercy and love that we have experienced and continue to experience through Jesus Christ. Our thanksgiving to God for making us his children in Christ spurs us to live lives worthy of children of God.
Prayer: Lord, we thank you for sending us Jesus your Son, the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world. Aided by Your grace, may we strive daily to live up to our Christian vocation. Amen
HUMBLE YET POWERFUL WITNESS: In his ministry of proclaiming the coming of the Messiah, John the Baptist feared no one and expected no favour or reward in return. He did not fear to say the truth even at the threat of the sword. Being a Christian and to bear witness to the coming of the arrival of the Kingdom of God is to live by the truth and be ready even to lay down our comforts and life. By our Christian life we too can baptize the world, meaning bringing God’s own renewal. Humility is defined as “the virtue that expresses a spirit of deference.” In the gospel, John showed humility through his witness to the Greater One. In our culture, a good witness gives first-hand information. We are consumed with the “facts.” But, in Jesus’ culture, a good witness had a good reputation. The quality of their witness depended upon the quality of their character. John placed his reputation, his character, and his very life at the service of his witness. His willingness to defer, to be humble, made John’s witness even more powerful.
PITFALLS OF PERFECTION: John the Baptist was very accurate when he said; “Behold the lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (Jn 1: 29). There is no better way to describe him in so few words. In this statement, the whole life mission of Jesus is described. This statement is uttered at a time when Jesus is at the initial days of his ministry. He is yet to travel round in His. Despite this, John is precise in introducing him. He places his life and mission in relation to Jesus. He is to usher in the Saviour. Where do I place Jesus in my life journey? Is my life and are my efforts established in relation to God’s Kingdom? May I introspect today in order to be aware of the mud rush towards unrealistic expectations and unattainable goals, and focus on the very foundation of my life where Jesus is the paragon of perfection.