Isaiah 49: 3, 5-6; Ps. 39: 2, 4, 7-10; 1 Cor. 1:1-3; Gospel – John 1:29-34
We can see from Dr Kieran O’ Mahony OSA in his Biblical Resources (cf., the link below), that this Sunday, we return to the Gospel of John and the third “epiphany” of Jesus. This epiphany is associated with the prophetic witness of John the Baptist to Jesus as the “Lamb of God”, the One, whom we recognize from the Old Testament as the One on whom the Spirit descends, the One who takes away the sin of the world. The overtones of Jesus’s vocation and mission as ‘the paschal lamb” are already in profile, and so, even this early in the Church’s liturgical year, this soon after Christmas, we are hearkened forward to Good Friday and Easter – and fulfilment of the Paschal Mystery – into which we too are baptised. Even now, as poet, Clive Sansom reminds us – “The hour’s at hand.”:
John, the Baptist
Crier, not prophet was I sent –
The voice of one,
Proclaiming in the wilderness, ‘Have done!
Scorched rock and stunted thorn my home,
Jackal my friend,
Hewing a path to God, that in the end
God’s son may come.
Follow no Christ, hail no Messiah
Till he arise.
Only with living water I baptize:
He with fire!
Come to this ford on the Jordan river,
Come down and wait.
Cleanse your hearts; drown in the waters’ spate
Your wrongs for ever.
Farmers, craftsmen – and you who stand,
Young fishers yonder,
Watching from river-reed and oleander –
The hour’s at hand.
You, priests’ spies – who turn theology
Into a tidy sum –
Expect no shelter from the wrath to come,
You shall not – no, do what you can –
Delay that hour,
Nor bribe, with your legalities and power,
The Son of Man.
Stop! Look! – under the tamarisk tree –
See! – there he stands!
Those Devil-mastering eyes, God-serving hands…
It is He – He!
Clive Sansom, The Witnesses, Methuen, London, 1971, pp. 12-13.
For a reflective commentary on this Gospel, we draw on an extract from Fr. Kieran O’Mahony’s Biblical Resources. Please click on the link: Kieran O’Mahony OSA Biblical Resources