Roc Homily – 2nd Sunday Ordinary Time (A) 2017
“Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)
One of the first occurrences in Leviticus of the Greek, ‘amnos (one of 3 terms in Greek that means ‘lamb’), happens in 14:1. This passage describes an elaborate ceremony in which the priest ritualizes the return of a leper who has been made clean.
At one point, the priest offers one lamb for a guilt offering and a second lamb for a sin offering. Curious.
Lambs are also slaughtered at the dedication of the altar for the Tabernacle (c. 7)
And… at many other occasions. Two that stand out in the book of Numbers are these:
Numbers 28 – Daily offerings, Sabbath offerings, monthly offerings, Offerings at Passover, Offerings at Festival of Weeks.
Numbers 29 –Offerings at Festival of Trumpets, Offerings on Day of Atonement, at Festival of Booths
So, consider the symbol of the Lamb in these passages.
- The priest offers two lambs as part of the ritual of welcoming back a leper into community.
- Families slaughter a lamb at Passover to remember their journey from slavery in Egypt to freedom in the Promised Land.
- Priests offer lambs on the Day of Atonement from national sin.
What if… the Lamb of God died to…
- celebrate the return of lepers – our inner selves as well as those whom we avoid – to community
- recall the beginning of God’s saving work to bring us out of slavery to freedom
- to atone for sins…
Tomorrow, I plan to deal with the question of atonement. What does it look like?