Ordinary Time, 2nd Sunday (A) We are familiar with the term, "The Lamb of God," but do we truly know what it means? It means that Jesus is innocent and pure, a perfect sacrifice. Let's talk about sacrifice.

Adam and Eve have two sons (Genesis 4). The older son, Cain, raises crops. The younger son, Abel, tends sheep. They both bring an offering to God from the blessings God has given them. This is the principle of "first fruits." The second reason for sacrifice is atonement for sins. A third reason, found throughout the ancient world but not so much among the Jewish people, is sacrifice to obtain some blessing or favor from the gods.

The Jews had a special sacrifice that was also a sacred meal. It was the annual spring Passover where a lamb was sacrificed and then eaten. Jesus replaces the Passover lamb; he is the one true sacrifice offered once for all. Does this mean we no longer offer sacrifices?

The Christian life will always be lived in the key of sacrifice. Christians are called to unite themselves to the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. At Mass we give God the sacrifice of our time and our money. In the bread and wine, you offer yourself to God. God blesses what we give and returns it so much better.

If we hang on to all our blessings, the pile of blessings shrinks. If we give some away or give back, God will bless you with more. Last week I went on a TEC retreat. I didn't really want to be there, but I sacrificed the time and God blessed me abundantly. When we join our lives to Jesus' sacrifice, we become so blessed that others will look at us and say, "Behold the lamb of God!"

(15 Jan 2023)

Going Deeper: I love the way this traditional Morning Offering moves from praised and gratitude to sacrifice ("crosses and contradictions") and a reliance on God's blessings and love. Learn this prayer by heart or write a Morning Offering in your own words.

Most Holy and Adorable Trinity, one God in three Persons, I firmly believe that Thou art here present; I adore Thee with the most profound humility; I praise Thee and give Thee thanks with all my heart for the favors Thou hast bestowed on me. Thy Goodness has brought me safely to the beginning of this day. Behold, O Lord, I offer Thee my whole being and in particular all my thoughts, words, and actions, together with such crosses and contradictions as I may meet with in the course of this day. Give them, O Lord, Thy blessing; may Thy divine Love animate them and may they tend to the greater honor and glory of Thy Sovereign Majesty. Amen.

(from Magnificat, PO Box 834, Yonkers, NY; January, 2023 (Vol 24, No. 11) p. 210)

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