22 Mar 2011

Lenten Reflections (No. 9) - The Lamb of God

I remember when at school ( more years ago than I care to remember) memorizing that beautiful poem 'All in an April Evening' ( by Katharine Tynan Hinkinson 1861-1931) which we had to learn by heart, (or woe betide us!).Then the emphasis was placed on being able to remember the next line! To-day, many years later that beautiful poem strikes a very different chord in my heart......as I drive in my car & see the lambs in the fields.God's very Creation becomes my meditation.
Just 'listen' as you read.
                     All in an April evening
                     April airs were abroad
                     The sheep with their little lambs
                     Passed me by on the road.
                     The sheep with their little lambs 
                      Passed me by on the road
                      All in an April evening
                      I thought on the Lamb of God.
                      The lambs were weary & crying 
                      With a weak human cry
                      I thought on the Lamb of God
                      Going meekly to die.
                      Up in the blue blue mountains 
                      Dewy pastures are sweet
                      Rest for the little bodies 
                      Rest for the little feet.
                      But for the Lamb of God
                      Up on a hilltop green
                      Only a cross of shame 
                      Two stark crosses between.
                       All in the April evening
                       April airs were abroad
                       I saw the sheep with their lambs
                       And thought on the Lamb of God.

For me this is what Lent is all about. It's all about Jesus.Isn't it?

At Mass in the Gloria we say 'Lord God Lamb of God,' and likewise in the Agnus Dei, "This is the 'Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world". John's Gospel ch. 1 v 29  & 36 also speak of the Lamb of God.

In the language of the Jews, the word 'Lamb' can mean both servant & lamb. Jesus is the Servant of God spoken of by the Prophets in the Old Testament, who was to sacrifice himself for his brothers & sisters. He is also the True Lamb that replaces the Paschal lamb of the Jewish Passover (Mk 14 :12).

To understand this a little more we read Isaiah where the Prophet speaks of The Suffering Servant.

Ch.53:3-4 'He was despised & rejected, a man of sorrows familiar with grief.Yet ours was the sorrows he bore, ours were the sufferings He endured. By His wounds we are healed'.

In Acts 8: 32-33., we read about Philip explaining the above passage of the' Suffering Servant' to  the Ethopian; "He was led like a sheep to be slaughtered, like a lamb that is dumb before it's shearer, he did not open his mouth.He was humbled & deprived of his rights......"

Lent then is a time for Reflection on the Passion of Christ & while the Church laws are fairly lenient  on fasting, and there is less stress on the same, we would do good to 'Feast on the Expression of the Cross', The Lamb that was slain, in order that we may enter more deeply into the Mystery of Christ's saving act of Redemption, and the giving of Himself  to us in the Eucharist.


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