2A Ordinary Time
The lamb alludes to the animal sacrifices by which people's sins were ceremonially purged and reconciliation with God was attained (Lev.1.1-13).
e.g. A tourist who had visited a church in Norway said that he was surprised to see the carved figure of a lamb near the top of the church’s tower. He learned that when the church was being built, a workman fell from a high scaffold. His co-workers rushed down, expecting to find him dead. But to their surprise and joy, he was alive and only slightly injured.
How did he survive? A flock of sheep was passing beneath the tower at the time, and he landed on top of a lamb. The lamb broke his fall and was crushed to death, but the man was saved. To remember that miraculous escape, someone carved a lamb on the tower at the exact height from which the workman fell."
To “take away" literally means "to relieve," "to take upon oneself." Jesus takes humanity's faults upon himself by his love and death on the cross. He got in line with sinners to be baptized even though he did not need to.
Think of this in contrast to a recent Supreme Court decision, where a Justice of the Court wrote: “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.”
So what is the goal of life? From the old Baltimore Catechism, the goal of life here on earth is:
TO KNOW, LOVE, AND SERVE GOD IN THIS LIFE, SO THAT WE CAN BE HAPPY WITH HIM IN HEAVEN.
Today’s gospel addresses the need for a transcendent source of meaning that points beyond the autonomy of the individualist self. “Behold the Lamb of God!” That means look at this objective thing, a lamb, who is the Lamb of God. Allowing oneself to be rearranged by objective value is what makes life worth living.
Jesus takes away the "sin" of the world [singular], which is from John 1:29. But 1 John 3:5 has the plural, i.e. Jesus takes away the "sins" of the world. The plural refers to sinful acts, while the singular refers to a sinful condition. There is absolutely no reason for someone to have a certain dis-ease or lack of well-being that arises from a general state of sinfulness because Jesus takes away that condition for those baptized and in the state of grace (saved).
Regarding the plural, that Jesus takes away the “sins” of the world, a nationally recognized expert on depression, a psychiatrist named Doctor Aaron Kheriaty, says that the Sacrament of Confession addresses our emotional life by concretizing the things that are keeping us from God. Confession allows us to verbalize our wrongdoing, getting it "off our chest." Verbalizing our sin before the priest, who represents both God and the Christian community breaks the isolation and despair that sin produces. Guilt is taken away by the Lamb of God and reconciliation is achieved.
3). Removing defects of character- One guy said, "I had a lot of fear about God removing too much of me. If he took away all my character defects I might be only a skeleton"
The response he got was that “we pray (prayer!) that God remove defects which stand in the way of making us useful to Him and others.” There is a willingness to want to do God's will. John the Baptist says in our Gospel text today that Jesus "ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.'" This refers to the preexistence of Jesus as the Second Person of the Holy Trinity so He is and always has been essentially our superior.
4. The Lamb of God has taken away all motivation for resentment—
The ultimate vengeance has already been exacted. The Passover Lamb, Jesus, died once and for all to deal with the sin of the world. That has been act of violence against God. No further, individual, human acts of retribution are necessary on our individual part and none are justified. The covenant of the blood of the Lamb promises victory to those who surrender their resentments.