Prepare for Sunday Mass: 'Behold, the Lamb of God'

Each week in OSV Newsweekly, Carl Olson provides a thoughtful, relevant reflection on the Mass readings for Sunday in his "Opening the Word" column. The following is just an excerpt, but you can read the entire column here.

From Carl Olson:

By shedding his blood on our behalf, wrote St. Bede the Venerable, Jesus “condemned the sovereignty of death forever. The Lamb that was innocent was slain. … The Lamb that took away the sins of the world brought to naught the lion that had brought sin into the world.” The Doctor of the Church stated, “It was the Lamb that restored us by the offering of his flesh and blood, so that we might not perish.”

I once summarized today’s readings in the following sentence: “The Son of God became a servant so that by becoming a sacrifice he would be the Savior of mankind.” The Son of God became a servant and a sacrifice so that we, slaves to sin and death, might become children of God. St. Bede’s statement captures both amazing facts: We are restored to life by the saving death of the Son, and we are thus saved from death by the gift of Christ’s life.

Granted, this flood of language about death and life, saving and perishing, and restoration and salvation, can be a bit overwhelming. Honestly, it can seem a bit abstract or even academic. But one of the many beautiful qualities of Scripture is that while it contains plenty of theological heft, it comes to us through events and stories that touch our hearts. This is because Christianity is both the deeply supernatural and profoundly earthly. And that is because of what we celebrated at Christmas: the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, the incarnate word of God, who came to dwell among men — as true God and true man.

Read Olson's entire column to prepare for Sunday Mass.

Jennifer Rey is the web editor of Our Sunday Visitor Publishing.