“What color is Regular?
It’s “Ordinal Time” again. Ordinary! The color is green. Not the Green Bay Packers forest green…But the color of “Regular! “ Same old daily grind. Uneventful? — Wrong! Christian discipleship is never “same old.” I will miss the Christmas season with its lights, gifts and shimmer. Thanks again to all who made the Basilica so radiant these past days. There is no reason we cannot look for the sparkly underpinning to most human life. In all our interactions with people, there is the presence of the God who prefers to pitch his tent in the middle of it all. After all, that was the promise of the Prologue of John’s Gospel we chanted at the Mass of Christmas day.
“Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.” John the Baptist introduces the Anointed Messiah in Mark’s Gospel for this weekend. In the invitation to communion at every Eucharist, the priest repeats the words of the Baptist. “Behold the Lamb of God….” One of my professors called this identification of Jesus with the lamb as, “shorthand” for the “Paschal Mystery.” Christ has died, Christ has risen. Christ will come again.
The Paschal Mystery of our faith lands at the reality of human suffering — especially for the many innocents of our world caught in violence, loss and tragedy. The lambs… are the special attention of God. Jesus as the Lamb of God reminds us that God lives there in the midst of it. Jesus, our Lamb of God, is intimately familiar with human suffering. He takes away the sin of the world. His suffering, death, and resurrection is the pattern for our own life, and by imitating his example, give life and hope to the lambs of our world.
“Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb” the priest continues. That’s us. The invited. The Eucharist is the food needed to give care to the world and its lambs. We say we re not worthy for him to come under “our roof.” God does not seem to care. He comes anyway when there is loss and pain. He leads us through it to the Promised Land, to a new creation, a new heaven and earth where all of God’s children are valued and safely cared for.
We honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King this weekend, an American martyr who dreamed of a new and “beloved community,” a human family of relationships deeper than race, culture and religion. A human race. Imagine? Maybe that is the problem. We have to first imagine it. There will always be resistance. But, the paschal mystery tells us that resistance is futile…never the end of the story. The Supper of the Lamb gives us a hint of how it is at the dinner table of God’s House. Imagine.
A gentle week,
Fr. Michael Weldon, OFM