Catholic Men’s Daily Devotional and Bible Study – Christmastime – January 3 – John 1:29-34
Continuing to highlight the witnesses who proclaim the Divinity of Christ as the Church approaches Epiphany (“to manifest, disclose, discover, conspicuous“) on which the Magi worship the Christ Child, John the Baptist reveals the sacrificial mission of Christ.
Seeing Jesus, John exclaims, “Behold the Lamb of God.” Thirteen hundred years earlier, God forced the stubborn Pharaoh of Egypt to release Israel from bondage by a horrifying Passover in which all firstborn males (including humans and animals) died; Israel’s first born males were protected by ritually killing a male lamb, wiping its blood on their doorways and feasting on the lamb’s meat. By calling Christ the “Lamb of God”, John reveals the sacrificial and saving death that Christ would endure and hints at the transformation of the Passover into Easter.
John further affirms his own mission as the one who is to announce Christ and the new Passover to Israel. John has witnessed not only Christ’s Divinity (first encountered when both Jesus and John were in the womb!) but also a physical manifestation of the Holy Spirit. While older, John mysteriously acknowledges that Christ came before him, a reference to Christ’s eternal life. After giving the cryptic prophecy that Christ is the “Lamb of God”, John bluntly states the astonishing truth that Jesus Christ is the “Son of God” who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.
Awed by Jesus Christ – Son of God, Christ’s divinity is recognized and announced by John the Baptist. Person of the Trinity, Christ establishes the ritual of the Passover thirteen hundred years before His Incarnation to prepare for His Incarnation and saving death. Lamb of God, Christ goes beyond human imagination to become the sacrificial victim who is ritually slain during the Passover.
Being a Heroic Catholic Man
1) Marvel at the mystery of Christ who not only established the Passover sacrificial ritual but 1300 years later stunningly becomes the sacrificial Lamb of God.
2) Most Catholic men are lukewarm about Christ; only about 1 in 3 fulfill their obligation to attend Mass every week. Pray for Christ to help you and all Catholic men to grow in awe of Christ as demonstrated by John the Baptist and to fulfill their Sunday obligation.
3) John the Baptist’s revelations about Christ underscore the powerful emphasis Christ puts on ritual: Baptism, building on the ages-old ritual of Passover in the Passion, the Lamb of God who becomes the Eucharist. Pray for Christ to give you the hunger to deepen your understanding of and participation in the Sacraments.
Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers
Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Sorrowful Mysteries
Daily Devotion – The Guardian Angels
Virtue of the Day – Justice
Corporal Work of Mercy – To clothe the naked
Spiritual Work of Mercy – To counsel the doubtful