MySpiritualAdvisor.com’s Mark Kurowski reflects on John the Baptist and his cousin Jesus. What was up with these two? Why is their appearance so important to us today? Interested? Listen to this podcast of his reflection on the readings for the 2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time. Please read John 1:29-34. For Audio, “read more” below. #GreatPreaching #Prayer #Sermons #Homilyhelper #LambofGod #Weird Cousin #Transformation #Worldly #Messiah
For MySpiritualAdvisor.com, this is Mark Kurowski with a reflection for Sunday, 1/19/2014 The 2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time.
Please pause this audio and read John 1:29-34
Every Sunday from the Baptism of the Lord to Lent, there is something that is being revealed about Jesus, who he is and what he is here to do. There are two things that stick out in the readings for this Sunday: Jesus and John the Baptist are cut from the same cloth and what Jesus is about is found in our everyday lives.
John the Baptist. What can we say about the Baptist? I always think of my seminary professor, Dr. Mickey Efird, when he would talk about John the Baptist and Ezekiel. He would stop when we begin class and say this about John, “This is one. Weird. Dude.”
I think of John as that weird cousin that we all have who dresses weird, eats weird food, is loudly opinionated and probably doesn’t smell too good. We all have cousins like that. Yet, this cousin is the one who goes away to live in a commune in the inner city, with a community garden, feeding the homeless and praying with people all the time.
Jesus, in this scenario, is the 30 year old carpenter cousin who is brilliant but doesn’t use his job to be a pastor or an engineer, or something that uses his brilliance. He continues to work at a job that is considered “beneath him” by the family that gathers at Thanksgiving. His a 30 year old single guy who has probably been invited over to countless dinners of single girls in the village. I can hear the mothers saying, “Sarah, that Jesus, he’s kinda cute, right? (pause) And he goes to Temple!”
It is these two that God picks to come forward and encounter each other in the Gospel for this Sunday. When they encounter each other, these two that no one understands, they fully understand. John says, “Behold! The Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world!”
John is making an incredible analogy. Jesus is the Messiah who is to come. He is going to be sacrificed like the sacrifice of the Lamb of God whose blood was spread on the lentil and doorposts of the Hebrew people. As slaves they slept that night before the day on which they would be delivered to freedom through the Red Sea. As they slept the angel of death travelled across Egypt killing all the first born who did not have the blood above their doors and on the doorposts. The blood of the Lamb saved them that night so that God could deliver them.
John, the weird cousin, proclaims this Jesus, the carpenter in the village, as the one who would sacrifice himself so that his blood would be shed to save us from our sins. Our lives would have access to heaven through him, with him and in him.
We may not have our priorities right. What is so bad about serving the poor and not caring about how we look, like John? What is so bad about concentrating on a simple career that allows us to preach the Gospel and invite people to be forgiven of their sins, like Jesus?
We may be looking for the wrong thing. We are looking for the mighty sign, the power sign; the greatly gifted and glitzy messenger of God. God sends the most powerful messengers in the simple neighbor, the talkative and gregarious clerk at the store, the mentally ill, the disabled, the keenly intelligent, and the weird cousins. God’s salvation takes us to the otherworldly, but it does not come to us in the other worldly alone. The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world is flesh and bone. He is a construction worker that we may know.
Then, in the midst of our life, God transforms our lives so that they have an otherworldly purpose: salvation. That is, our lives have a purpose of going to heaven and living that heaven out right now. The one whose blood was shed on the lentil and doorposts of the Cross, who spares us from the death angel who comes to take those who are guilty of sin, is also the one who rests in the palm of our hand and remains as a taste on our lips in the medium of simple bread and wine: always heavenly, always worldly, always accessible.
How is this worldly delight of bread and wine transforming you today? Today, don’t just take the host. Sip the blood. Sip the blood of the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world. Know that heaven has entered you through simple worldly means. Ponder the transformation from within you. Can you let the peace of God be unleashed in you? Can you let the strength of God embolden you? Can you let the riches of heaven feed you from within? How does God want you to be transformed? Where is God taking you? What is God transforming you to do?
Wherever it is, whatever it is, from their cousins to ours, behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Amen? Amen.
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