"Only Jesus Christ Takes Away Our Sins"

Second Sunday of Ordinary Time

Year B, 17 January 2021

“Behold the Lamb of God...” Jn. 1:36

The theme of today’s liturgy of the Word is one of salvation which is deliverance from sin. Sin is the only evil in the world today. Famine, war, pestilence, disease, death are not really evil in themselves. All these realities of life are of this world which is passing away. Sin offends God and demands retribution, not only here in this world, but hereafter in the next world. Those who die in mortal sin will suffer for all eternity in hell. That is why Jesus Christ came to deliver us from our sins and bring salvation to the world. Today, in a world that denies sin, there are so many who are bound by sin, and they don’t even realize it. This is why people do not have peace. Sin causes a loss of God’s grace. With the loss of grace is a loss of the Fruits of the Holy Spirit. There is no peace, no joy, no gentleness, no generosity, and no charity. (fruits of the Holy Ghost). Instead we become angry, depressed, hateful, impatient and filled with so many other anxieties and fears in our hearts. Sin destroys lives for generations: The Lord...who visitest the sins of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.” Nu. 14:18

Christ’s Blood, the Price of our Redemption

In today’s readings we see how Jesus came to deliver us from sin. In the First Reading (I Samuel 3:3-10, 19) the prophet Samuel is called by God to do His will: And the Lord came and stood: and he called, as he had called the other times: Samuel, Samuel. And Samuel said: Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth.” I Sam. 3:10 In the Responsorial Psalm we have major reason why Christ came: “Sacrifice and oblation thou didst not desire; but thou hast pierced ears for me. Burnt offering and sin offering thou didst not require: Then said I, Behold I come. In the head of the book it is written of me That I should do thy will: O my God, I have desired it, and thy law in the midst of my heart.” Ps. 39:7-11 No amount of sacrifices of bulls and calves and lambs by the Jews could make up sin. Sin is an infinite offence against God, and only Jesus Christ who is true God and true man could atone for sin. Only He could suffer in His Sacred Humanity. God can not suffer; therefore, it was necessary that He have a human nature to suffer. This is why the Word of God, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity was united to a human nature: “Behold I come.” Ps. 39:8 In the Holy Mass we see this sacrifice commemorated every time a Mass is offered for the remission of sins. This is why St. Paul, his Epistle to the Corinthians, today’s Second Reading ( I Cor. 6:13-15 17-20), could call the people of Corinth a holy people. They have been bought by the Precious Blood of Christ: Or know you not, that your members are the temple of the Holy Ghost, who is in you, whom you have from God; and you are not your own? For you are bought with a great price. Glorify and bear God in your body.” I Cor. 6:19-20 In the First Eucharistic Prayer, we ask the Angels to “take this sacrifice to your altar in heaven.” The numerous angels surrounding this altar of sacrifice also sprinkle us with the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ. This is similar to the blood of the Paschal Lamb which was sprinkled on the doorposts of the Jews in Egypt to spare them from the Angel of Death who would kill every first born male of man and beast as a punishment from God for the hardheartedness of Pharaoh who would not let the Jews leave Egypt. As the Jews were saved by the sprinkling of the Paschal Lamb on their doorposts and the eating of the lamb in the Passover meal, so too are we saved the Precious Body and Blood of Jesus Christ at every Mass. This is what St. John means when in the Book of Revelation he says of Jesus’ Blood: “To Him who has loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood.” Rev. 1:5. This what St. Cyril of Alexandria explains to us: “But now the true Lamb, the victim without blemish obscurely prefigured in former times, is led to the slaughter for all to banish sin from the world, to overthrow the world’s destroyer (satan), to abolish death by dying for the whole human race, and to release us from the curse ‘Dust thou art and to dust thou shall return.’ He will become the Second Adam, who is not ‘of the earth’ but of heaven and will be for us the source of every blessing.” St. Peter in his First Epistle also tells of Christ’s Blood: “Blood beyond all price, the blood of spotless unblemished lamb.” I Pt. 1:19

The Sacrament of Penance for the forgiveness of Sins

If Christ has freed us from our sins, it is most important for us to use the sacrament of Penance the means which He instituted for this purpose. He told the apostles on Easter Sunday night to forgive sins: “Receive ye the Holy Spirit; whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.” Jn. 20: 22-3 It takes much faith to tell our sins to another man, but this is what Jesus always asked of people before He performed a miracle. Did they believe in Him? We believe in Jesus Christ when we obey His word and His Church and confess our sins to a priest. Nowadays, some people think that they know better than the Church. They do not need the sacrament of penance. They say, “I confess my sins to God.” Others say, “I do not hurt anybody.” Still others say, “I don’t have any sins.” And yet we live in an age with millions of abortions, with 80% or more of the married couples think that contraception is permissible, and only about 10% or less of the Catholics go to Mass on Sunday. Every time we go to confession, we can hear Jesus say the words which He said when He raised Lazarus from the dead: “Unbind him and let him go.” Jn. 11:44

Frequent Confession, a Means of Grace

We need to go to confession more as it not only delivers us from our sins, but it makes us holy. Pope John Paul II in a homily for Sunday in 1981 said: “Jesus Christ comes to call us to holiness and constantly gives us graces we need for sanctification...” This holiness comes from the constant purification of our innermost soul in confession. It is an essential condition for loving God more and more each day. Frequent confession is a clear sign of the love of God. Similarly, despising confession or being indifferent or careless about confession is a sign of the lack of love for God. It is also a sign that we have been tricked by satan who knows how important confession is for the soul. St Padre Pio use to tell his spiritual children who did not go to confession each week, “Foolish child, do you not know the graces that you are missing.”

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