Fr. Cantalamessa - Behold, the Lamb of God!
Gospel Commentary for 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
By Father Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM Cap
ROME, JAN. 20, 2008 (Zenit) - In the Gospel we hear John the Baptist who, presenting Jesus to the world, exclaims: "Behold the lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world!"
The lamb, in the Bible, as in other cultures, is the symbol of being innocent; it cannot do evil to anyone but only suffer it. Following this symbolism, the first letter of Peter calls Christ "the lamb unspotted" (1:19) who, "reviled, did not revile; when he suffered, he threatened not" (2:23). Jesus, in other words, is par excellence the innocent one who suffers.
It has been written that the suffering of the innocent "is the rock of atheism." After Auschwitz, the problem was posed in a still more acute way. There are countless books and dramas that have been written about this theme. It feels like being at a trial and hearing the voice of the judge ordering the defendant to stand up. The defendant in this case is God.
What does the faith have to say about all this? First of all, it is necessary that we all, believers and nonbelievers, adopt an attitude of humility, because if faith is not able to "explain" the suffering, much less is reason. The suffering of the innocent is something too pure and mysterious to try to close it up in one of our poor "explanations." Jesus -- who, as far as explanations go, certainly had more than us -- faced with the suffering of the widow of Naim and the sisters of Lazarus, knew nothing better to do than to be moved and weep.
The Christian response to the problem of innocent suffering is wrapped up in one name: Jesus Christ! Jesus did not come to give us expert explanations about suffering, he came rather silently to take it upon himself. Taking it upon himself, however, he changed it entirely: from a sign of malediction, he made it an instrument of redemption. Even more: he made it the supreme value, the highest order of greatness in this world. After sin, the true greatness of the human creature is measured by the fact of bearing the least amount of guilt possible and the maximum amount of punishment possible. It is not so much in the one or the other taken separately -- that is, in innocence or in suffering -- as it is in the co-presence of the two in the same person. This is a type of suffering that brings us closer to God. Only God, in fact, if he suffers, suffers as innocent in an absolute sense.
Jesus, however, did not only give a meaning to innocent suffering, he also conferred a new power on it, a mysterious fruitfulness. Look at what flowed from the suffering of Christ: the resurrection and hope for the whole human race. But look also at what happens around us. How much energy and heroism is often brought out in a couple in the acceptance of a handicapped child, bedridden for years! How much unsuspected solidarity surrounds them! How much otherwise unknown capacity to love!
The most important thing, however, when we speak of innocent suffering, is not to explain it; it is not to increase it with our actions and our omissions. But neither is it enough not to increase innocent suffering; we must also try to relieve the innocent suffering that exists! Faced with a little girl frozen by the cold, who cries because of hunger pains, a man cried out in his heart one day to God: "Oh, God, where are you? Why don't you do something for that innocent girl?" And God answered him: "I certainly have done something for her: I made you!"
[Translation by Joseph G. Trabbic]
* * *
Father Raniero Cantalamessa is the Pontifical Household preacher. The readings for this Sunday are Isaiah 49:3, 5-6; 1 Corinthians 1:1-3; John 1:29-34.
http://www.catholic.org CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000
Cantalamessa, Gospel, Sunday, Jesus, God, Bible
More Catholic PRWire
Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718
A Recession Antidote
Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell
Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell
Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Franchising to Evangelize
Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Three words to a deeper faith
Relections for Lent 2009
Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell
World Food Program Director on Lent
Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Glimpse of Me
The 3 stages of life
Sex and the Married Woman
A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Modernity & Morality
Just a Minute
Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Edging God Out
Burying a St. Joseph Statue
George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell
Easter... A Way of Life
Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
by Catholic Online
- Daily Reading for Friday, April 28th, 2017 HD Video
- Has the Trump administration betrayed the Little Sisters of the Poor?
- St. Zita: Saint of the Day for Thursday, April 27, 2017
- The Saint Pio Foundation to Honor Hon. Rick and Karen Santorum and ...
- Daily Readings for Thursday, April 27, 2017
- Wait, what? Did Pope Francis just buy a private beach? Yes he did, ...
- Pope Francis surprises with TED Talk appearance and powerful message ...
- daily readings
- saint george
- saint james
- Saint Patrick
- st. francis
- st. jude
- st. peter
- mother theresa
- st james
- st joan of arc
- advent prayers
- St Joseph
- ten commandments
- Pope Francis
- saint agnes
- St Anthony
- 10 commandments
- mary magdalene
- Patron saints
- st bernadette
- Day 6 - Novena for Workers, the Unemployed and Underemployed HD
- Daily Reading for Thursday, April 27th, 2017 HD
- Cherokee Nation sues drug distributors while CDC claims opioid deaths are underreported HD
- Day 5 - Novena for Workers, the Unemployed and Underemployed HD
Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.