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Thought for the weekend: We must prepare for God

By Fr Patrick McCafferty, Parish of Kilmore and Killyleagh, Co Down

As Jesus appears at the beginning of his public ministry, and as is related to us in the Gospel passage read in many churches this weekend, John the Baptist, in the company of others, "stared hard at Him" and declared: "Behold, the Lamb of God" (Cf. John 1:35-42).

This short phrase clearly identifies Jesus of Nazareth as the one whom John and many others were seeking and expecting.

Here is the lamb foretold in the prophecies of the Hebrew scriptures, whose innocence will absorb and obliterate the sins of the world.

Here is "the Lamb without blemish" (I Peter 1:19), whose precious blood has purchased us for God (Rev 5:9), so that we no longer live for ourselves, but only for him.

With his simple introduction of Christ, John the Baptist bows to him and has fulfilled his mission for, "He must increase and I must decrease" (John 3:30). Jesus is the one long-expected but he comes as the one seeking us. Human beings search for God (Ps 27:8), but it is God who finds us, in his infinite love and care.

To the disciples who, finding Jesus, ask Him, "'Master, where do You live?" the Lord replies, "Come and see". Christ invites us to come with Him to the place he has prepared for us forever, with the father (John 14:1-2).

To arrive there, we must be attentive of mind and heart. We must desire, with constant longing and sighing, to see the face of God (Ps 42:1-2).

We must be disposed, as was the boy Samuel on the threshold of his prophetic ministry, to say always: "Speak, Lord, your servant is listening" (1 Samuel 3:3-10,19).

We belong to God, not to ourselves. We are God's property - not our own (I Cor. 6:19-20).

We return to our God at the end of this very brief existence on earth.

We must be constantly engaged in preparing ourselves - now - for "the everlasting home in the heavens" (II Cor. 5:1).

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