Lamb of God

Knock Today, there is shared governance in Northern Ireland as Ian Paisley and Gerry Maguire have come to the table. However, one does not need to look at the many, many murals and memorial gardens very long before coming to the conclusion that much is seething just under the surface. They have had to build the peace walls higher and higher and some gates in the wall are still locked every night. Unlike the Israeli imposed wall in Palestine or the Communist imposed wall in Berlin, people in Belfast asked for the walls for protection.
Then, we come to Knock. Fifteen people standing in the rain in August 1879 had a vision. It was Mary and Joseph and John the Evangelist. Mary did not speak a word. The entire focus of the apparition was on the Lamb before the cross surrounded by swirling angels. The Lamb! The Lamb of God! Jesus the nonviolent Lamb of God! The Lamb-the Suffering Servant! This was my gift at Knock. I suddenly realized that it is all about the Lamb, Jesus the nonviolent one! What a contrast to Belfast. I also was given a command at Knock. I am to pray the rosary every day for world peace. I also spent much of the day praying for a peaceful heart and I think Mary is giving it to me. Maybe, just maybe, if enough of us pray the rosary for peace, Mary’s message to the poor, downtrodden and oppressed Irish people in the tiny village of Knock will finally break forth and become a reality—a peaceful world giving homage to the Lamb of God, Jesus the nonviolent Suffering Servant of God standing ever so gently before the cross!
Jesus understands himself to be the Suffering Servant, the gentle Lamb of God. In Mt. 12:15, Jesus invokes Isaiah. He will bring justice–restorative justice making all relationships right in God’s sight. The gentle Lamb will not break the bruised reed. He will not quench the smoldering wick. The lamb is gentleness personified. The Lamb is hope for the Gentiles. He is our hope.
How significant it is that John the Evangelist is present. Just think about all the references to the Lamb who was slain in the Book of Revelation.
I know that what I received at Knock must be shared. After arriving home, I checked the book shelf. I have the tapes of a weeklong retreat, “Behold the Lamb,” given by Father Emmanuel Charles McCarthy at Knock. I also have the tapes of a shorter retreat, “The Kingdom of the Lamb,” which he also gave at Knock.
McCarthy reminds us that, when we receive a new revelation of faith, that we must share it. He, along with Tomas Merton, reminds us that we must enter into the very mystery of God and Christ the Lamb by means of prayer and contemplation. With Merton, we must learn to dwell in the silence beneath things so that we might encounter the living God. This gives us the purpose and energy to confront evil and proclaim the nonviolence of Jesus. It also helps us to realize, even amid the turmoil and challenges of working for peace and justice, that it is God’s work, not our work.
Behold the nonviolent Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the violent world! Behold the Lamb who was led to slaughter to teach us the way of nonviolence resistance! Behold the Lamb of God who comes to us in Eucharist to nourish and feed us! Behold the Lamb of God who lives in our hearts and gives us the peace only he can give! The Lamb of God is our peace!

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