John’s response as one of the first disciples utters a bold proclamation in the portrayal of the account of the gathering of the first disciples of Jesus. John states, behold the “Lamb of God.” (Jn 1:36) is a truly remarkable account of what our mission can be for us this coming Lent. The writer then states that the two disciples who heard John issue these words of acknowledgement at being able to recognize the divinity of our Lord Jesus, then decide to follow Him as well. The above image was taken from St. Paul Church in Richardson in which our Lamb of God was slain for our transgressions. It is a great image that reminds us to always look at the corpus (body) of the crucified Christ before we can turn to the image of our risen Lord. The reason why we must acknowledge our suffering and pain and the hardship of the Christian life is because we can never know change. The transformation of love and joy, or the ability of the miracle of grace to transform our minds and hearts to turn back to God is an amazing moment that allows us another view outside of our own independence to a place of dependence. Turning to our Lord when life is easy without hardships is oftentimes taken for granted for, we are great about asking God for things in petition, but not so great about thanking God for those blessings. Christian suffering is the great paradox for it can lead us to a better place if we allow it to permeate our very being.
This Lent will no doubt usher in a different experience. From a worldly experience in having gone through a major pandemic with much illness and death to a conflict with Russia and Ukraine to other events in our lifestyle is quite a lot to deal with. One always has to ask, why does our Lord God allow suffering, chaos and turmoil to occur? Such a question has been asked since the dawn of age. Much of human suffering can be attributed to the suffering we put on our fellow man instead of placing our complete trust and dependency in our Lord God. Why is there evil in the world? Is it the devil or some diabolical figure? For rabbinical Jewish scholars, the concept of ‘Yetzer hara,’ or the ‘evil inclination’ for us to turn away from the will of God is the reason for much of our misery.
Another parable we may wish to reflect on is the healing of the centurion’s servant in Matthew chapter 8. The centurion reminds us that we should place our trust in Jesus in which he remarks, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed” (Mt 8:8). Another component of human suffering is that sometimes we don’t know the reason why nor the time according to our schedule for when such trials and hardships will occur. Ecclesiastes chapter 3 is a great reminder regarding the seasons of life to take to reflection during this Lenten season.
Let us cherish these seasons of our life no matter how difficult. When we are able to have the faith of John in which he proclaims, behold the Lamb of God, the same Lamb of God who has removed the stain of sin, suffering and death can we come to a place of peace, hope, love and joy. Let us listen to the Lord in the silence and speak when it is necessary to speak.
Our Lord Jesus Christ wishes to be with us this Lenten season and we must place our trust and guidance in His compassionate mercy when our own cross of life becomes too heavy.
May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen