Thought of the day
Saturday, January 3, 2015

Saturday before Epiphany

"Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world"

Saint John Chrysostom (c.345-407), priest at Antioch then Bishop of Constantinople, Doctor of the Church 
Homilies on Saint John’s Gospel, no.18
"Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world"

"A second time," says the evangelist, "John stood and said: ‘Behold, the Lamb of God’." Christ utters no word; John the Forerunner says it all. So it is with a bridegroom: he does not say anything to the bride to begin with but steps forward and stands there in silence. Others present him to the bride and give her into his hands. Thus, when she appears, the bridegroom does not take her himself but receives her from the hands of another who gives her to him. And when he has thus received her from another, he binds her so strongly to himself that she no longer remembers those she has left for his sake. So it was with Christ. He came to wed human nature; he did not speak a word but merely came. It was the friend of the bridegroom (Jn 3,29), John, who put the Bride's right hand into his – in other words, the hearts of those he had convinced with his preaching. Then Jesus Christ welcomed them and satisfied them with so many good things that they no longer turned back to the one who had led them to him…

John alone proclaimed him to be present to the people. He was given the name "friend of the Bridegroom" because he alone was present at this marriage with the Church. He it was who did everything, who brought everything about. Seeing Christ coming, he said: “Behold the Lamb of God." Thus he showed that it was not by voice alone, but with his eyes also that he bore witness. He wondered at the Son of God and, when he beheld him, his heart leaped for joy. At first he did not preach Christ to his followers but only showed wonder and astonishment at him. In that way he made known to all, by means of the word "lamb", the gift Jesus came to give. And John did not say: "Who is to take" or "Who has taken" but: "This is he who takes away the sins of the world", and not just at the time of his Passion but always. He offered only one, single sacrifice for the sins of the world yet, by this oblation, he purifies forever the consciences of human sinners.
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