The prophecy of John the Baptist, considered the last of the Old Testament prophecies, is found at the beginning of the New Testament. It is an important prophecy. John the Baptist's life and words were a direct preparation for Christ's coming... John lived in the desert, prayed, fasted and announced the arrival of the Kingdom of God. People came to him from Jerusalem and its surroundings, listened to him and were converted. He baptized them in water and at the same time told them that one would come after him who would baptize with water and the Holy Spirit. One day Jesus Himself went to John and asked to be baptized. In St. John's Gospel we read:The next day John saw Jesus coming to him, and said, "Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world! This is He of whom I said, 'After me comes a man who is preferred before me.' And I knew Him not: but that He might be manifest to Israel, I am come baptizing with water" (John 1:29-31).

The words, Behold the Lamb of God, are repeated during Holy Mass just before Communion. That is an important moment when the blessed Bread is acknowledged as the Lamb mentioned in the Scriptures, identified by John and shown to the world. The event in Egypt concerning the unblemished lamb reminds us of John's prophecy concerning the wonder of the divine work, and allows us to understand the role of the Messianic Lamb, who came to reunite the people. After His departure, He miraculously remains with His people in the Eucharist. This is why the lamb is the symbol, the sign, of Jesus. This is, nevertheless, only a continuation of His mission.

Celebrate Mass With Your Heart
Fr. Slavko Barbaric, O.F.M.

Reprinted from Witness Ministries, a lay apostolate dedicated to renewing appreciation for the Mass as the greatest gift which God has given to His beloved spouse, the Church. Their mission is to show how, in the Eucharistic Liturgy, Jesus renews and transforms us–and the world–in His life and love.