Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
Lord I am not worthy that you should come under my roof,
but speak the word only, and my soul shall be healed.
At every mass at St. Mark's we say these words before receiving communion, and during Stations and Benediction this Lent we have sung a portion of this text as a refrain. Christ is our Passover Lamb who takes away the sins of the world.
This Palm Sunday we will hear the Passion according to St. Matthew, and on Good Friday we will hear the Passion according to St. John. The great irony of all the passion narratives is that the sinner goes free and the innocent one suffers. Each one of us is like Barabbas, a sinner who is given freedom due to our Lord's willingness to suffer and ultimately die. Whereas we might choose to fight violence with violence, Jesus takes the violence of the world upon himself, refusing to return it to the creation. He transforms the violence of Good Friday into Easter reconciliation and peace.
As we are quickly approaching the end of Lent, we might ask ourselves what hatred do we return with hatred - what violence do we return with violence - what anger do we return with anger - what jealousy do we return for jealousy? You can easily choose other sins to place within this formula. Whatever the sin might be, how might we seek to transform such ugly emotions and actions into Easter peace. If we are to do this, we have to go through the cross. Only there will we find the transformation necessary to revolutionize our lives.
In a world that often operates with retaliation and revenge, the way of Jesus and the cross seems strange, weak, and ineffective, and yet it is the only way to gain true life. Amidst all of the sins of the world, only our Lord's way is efficacious. Only our God is able to absorb our sins, transforming them into resurrection life. Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, and behold how he shall once again transform our lives into a new creation.
Father Paul Lillie+