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January 15, 1993     The Message
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January 15, 1993

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15,1993 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana tary 9 0000y,A00ER Lamb of God; John the Baptist oI, OER and John the Evangelist Commentary for Sunday, Jan. 17, Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle 1:29-34. The importance of John the Baptist and his . to Jesus can be seen by the frequency With which the Church recalls his testimony to Jesus in the Sunday readings. Two Sunday in Advent were already devoted to that wi" Also last Sunday's gospel recalled the : mess of John to Jesus at the baptismal scene de- by Matthew, Today we hear John the Bap- s to Jesus in the Gospel of John. may well be impossible to unravel the of the theological cloth that the evangelist :L r author of the Gospel of John has woven into ..s lirstchapter. We can only attempt to deter- e Which threads come from John the Baptist l,a Which threads derive from John the Evange- t or trom the theology of the Christian commu- lty tot which he was writing. Perhaps the main day's witness to Jesus by John the Bap- words: "Behold, the Lamb of God v_ . away the sin of the world " We are , .. ry, tamlhar with these words because they are usea.t every Mass as the priest elevates the Body ,u Ulood of Jesus just prior to communion. we hear the term, "Sweet Jesus." or not Jesus had a sugary disposition, do not describe him as such. Above term "Lamb of God," when used of Jesus 31 of John, is not meant to compare sheep or to describe him as cuddly, sweet. To determine what either John the Baptist or John the Evangelist or both together meant by this term we have to see what it meant in the Hebrew Scriptures and even in the Chris- tian Scriptures insofar as they existed in the last decade of the first century in which the Gospel of John seems to have originated in its present form. "Lamb of God" as used by John in John can best be interpreted by its use in the Aramaic lan- guage. This language, closely related to Hebrew, was the spoken language of the time of Jesus and John the Baptist. We assume that the author of this gospel was also familiar with this language. In fact, he may have been a contemporary of Jesus, perhaps even one of his immediate disci- ples. This could at least be said of the first stra- tum or layer of the gospel with its sometimes inti- mate details not seen in the other three gospels accepted by the Church. One of the earliest titles applied to Jesus was "servant of God." We find this term used of Jesus in some of the speeches in Acts of Apostles. Those speeches frequently present ys with the earliest form of Christian preaching. It was not long before offense was taken at this title perhaps as not expressing the dignity of Jesus as equal to God. Thus it is never used of Jesus in the gospels except once. This is when Matthew quotes Isaiah 42:1, the place from which this title originates for its Christian usage. Since second'generation Christians seem for the most part to have avoided the title, "Servant of God," for Jesus, the Aramaic language gave them a useful option. In Aramaic the term for ser- vant was "talyah." However, this word could y "1 " " rosaries for Russia osary to collect second milhonanli t ANy, N.Y, (CNS)  A movement who died in June Klein said he contacted lPaign tocollect 1 million 1992. . "more than 40 bishopsin var- f0r' 1or Russia and other Thus far, 670,000 rosaries ious dioceses throughout the ne=-rtY COmmunist Euro- have been shipped to people countries of Central and East- i J CoUntries has exceeded in the former Soviet bloc and ern Europe" who "said they could use sea! aIld been extended to distributed through relief easily another r0s. anther 1 million agencies and Mother Teresa's 300,000 rosaries." TL es" Missionaries of Charity. Rosaries can be sent to ia e Campaign was begun Robert Klein of the Albany- Family Rosary Inc., Executive QrCth er 1991 by Holy based Family Rosary wants to Park Drive, Albany, N.Y.  rather p f0U,- atrick Peyton, distribute the other 330,000 12203-3594. Phone: (518) -uer of the Family Rosary rosaries. 489-8900. mean not only servant but also lamb. Thus the title "servant of God" seems to have become "lamb of God." It is likely that John the Baptist himself referred to Jesus as "servant of God." By the time the Gospel of John was completed the servant of God had become the lamb of God, no longer in John the Baptist's Aramaic but in John the Evangelist's Greek. Whether understood as servant or lamb, both meanings can be interpreted from their use in four poems found in the Second Book of Isaiah as they are translated into Greek. The poems are called "Servant Songs," because the first one be- gins with the words: "Behold, my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom my soul de- lights." That servant is described in a later poem as "a lamb that is led to the slaughter and a sheep that is silent before its shearers." That same ser- vant or lamb is described as bearing our grief, car- rying our sorrows, wounded, bruised, handed over for our sins, and eventually cut off from the land of the living. All of this is included when John the Baptist refers to Jesus: "Behold the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world." With these thoughts in mind, we can better un- derstand the burden carried by those same words spoken by the celebrant as he invites the faithful to communion with the servant of God, the lamb of God. Other readings Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A: Isaiah 49:3, 5.6; I Corinthians 1:1.3. llenib. ersl Ih( othS . . ball team at St. ames School, St. lames, won the e fifth and sixth llrade basket J _ ual H ' clud..  ohday Tournament at St lohn the Baptist School, Newburgh. Team members in- laj.ront row, left, Brian Lui "l]ran Seihert Adam Adler, Zach Hudson, Adam Ralph, " Zl'i I' k r,ulls' Peter_ Amunds, o n, b a c'ro w " , le.'f,t Benn y Faraone, ]osh Zdmk," lustre" Elpers, Jacob jacob Wels a , eam is coached by Ral h Adler and Marwn lissel. "" nd Michael Aivey. The t ": . P " Golden Jubilarians Edward J. and Agnes (Vieck) Ottensmeyer of Vincennes will celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversao, with a Mass of Thanksgiving at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 23, at Sacred Heart Church, Vincennes. The Mass will he con-celebrated by Fa- ther Hilary Ottensmeyer of Beech Grove, In., and Father Hi- lary Vieck, pastor of St. Peter Church, Linton. The couple's children will host a reception from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Fort Sackville Room in the new Student Union Building at Vin- cennes University. [The reception has been changed rom the Trailblazer Room.J Friends and relatives are invited to the Mass and reception; the couple requests no gifts. They were married |an. 22, llqk, at St. Thomas C-,lrch, V, by Father Edward Eismman. They are th anmtx Chil- dren, Edward Ill of Wellesley, Ma.; Mi iael ffewood, Ok.; Patrick of East Amherst, N.Y.; Mary Cart off|e, - In Kathleen Nelson of Fort ! ranch, and Llnda ! Read- ing, Pa. They have 13 grandchildren. Ottm! rett from the Indiana Depmrtment of Trenspoatim in Ig5, Th are both retired real estale brokel's from Ollensmeyer Real Estate.