March 28, 2020 – The Lamb of God

"I was like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter." (Jer 11:19) One who does not attempt to escape his fate. Jeremiah and Isaiah, too, use the image of a lamb led to slaughter. Christ Jesus is this lamb of God, who does not fulfill his will by force, but is handed out without resisting, and thus the salvation of man is accomplished: "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" (Joh 1:29)

Death is a consequence of sin; God had provided otherwise for man. Giving himself unto death, Jesus takes this consequence upon himself, "bore the sins of man." Not as though God requires punishment and sacrifice in order to satisfy his anger. Indeed, God gives himself, enters into even this aspect of human history, when Jesus suffers and dies for us, so that suffering and death have gone from being a punishment and consequence of sin, to being a place in which love is manifested. In the sacrifice of Christ, it is not the degree of suffering that matters, but the love that is the root of merit.

Even in human life there are situations that can only be made whole by a voluntary sacrifice. Sick persons in need of help (many doctors and nurses are sacrificing themselves now to treat the sick), crises in relationships… often enough only love that is willing to sacrifice can provide a remedy. Christ's death is the sacrifice in which God's love and thus his glory is manifested in this way.

This love made manifest on the cross, in the suffering and death of Christ, is present in the Eucharist. "This is my body, which will be given for you." It is Christ himself who renders praise to the Father and gives himself to us under the appearance of bread. The Eucharist is not only a banquet; it is the presence of Christ's sacrifice. Even if we cannot at this time celebrate this banquet together, the Lord remains present among us in this sacrament, to comfort us in fears and suffering, to strength us, to turn us with thanksgiving and trust to our God and Father.

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