ISAIAH 49:3, 5-6 | 1 CORINTHIANS 1:1-3 | JOHN 1:29-34
“John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Behold. The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.’”
When I stand at the altar in St. Jean’s, I face the stained-glass window that’s above the ceremonial central door of the church. It depicts John the Baptist pointing at Jesus as he walks by. Andrew and another of John’s disciples look on. Under the scene are the words, “Behold the Lamb of God.” Those are our words of welcome to the visitor, the stranger, Christian and non-Christian.
Behind me, on the high altar with its gleaming sunburst monstrance some forty feet above the sanctuary floor, John the Baptist appears again. He stands at the base of the sun with his arm stretched up above his head. His index finger points to the host at the center of the sun. Here, he witnesses to Jesus a second time, “Behold, the Lamb of God.”
In the evangelist’s account of this moment, Andrew and the other disciple followed after Jesus as soon as they heard John’s testimony. After a few moments Jesus turned around, looked at them, and asked, “What are you looking for?”
Jesus asks the same question of everyone who walks into our churches. These words define our ministry. Through us, Jesus gives the same answer he gave to Andrew and the other disciple, “Come, and you will see.”
As we begin a new year, let’s recommit ourselves to Father Eymard’s ministry of invitation and welcome. Let’s raise our arms and silently point to “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” Let’s invite everyone, and anyone, to bring their burdens, to lay them at the feet of the Lamb. Let’s encourage them to breathe deeply, to fill their lungs with the breath of the Spirit. Let’s help them listen to him. “Behold, I make all things new.”