In his Angelus address today, Pope Francis reflected on Christ as the “Lamb of God,” focusing on the need for Christians to be welcoming and to live an attitude of solidarity.
“What does it mean for the Church, for us, today, to be disciples of Jesus the Lamb of God? It means replacing malice with innocence, force with love, pride with humility, prestige with service,” Pope Francis proclaimed Jan. 19 in St. Peter's Square.
“To be a disciple of the Lamb does not mean to live like a ‘besieged citadel,’ but as a city placed on a hill, open, welcoming, and sympathetic,” he explained on Jan. 19.
Meditating on the Baptism of Christ, during which John the Baptist proclaims “Behold the lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world,” Pope Francis said this “taking away” is literally Christ's “lifting up” the sin of the world, “taking it upon himself.”
“Jesus came into the world with a precise mission: to free us from the bondage of sin, charging the faults of humanity,” the Roman Pontiff said, by “loving.”
“There is no other way of overcoming evil and sin except with the love that springs from the gift of one’s own life for others.”
Christ is “the true paschal lamb, who immerses himself in the river of our sin, in order to purify us,” he stressed.
This image of Jesus as the sacrificial lamb may be stupefying, reflected Pope Francis: “an animal that is certainly not characterized by strength and robustness is loaded on its shoulders with a burden so oppressive.”
“The enormous mass of evil is removed and taken away by a creature weak and fragile , a symbol of obedience, docility and helpless love, who comes at last to sacrifice himself. A lamb is not a ruler, but is docile; not aggressive, but peaceful; it shows no claws or teeth in the face of an attack, but it suffers and is submissive.”
“And so is Jesus! So is Jesus, as a lamb.”
Following the Lamb of God, he concluded, means Christians, as the city set on a hill, are called not “to assume attitudes of being closed-off” but to propose the gospel “to everyone, witnessing with our lives that to follow Jesus makes us more free and more joyful.”
Following the Angelus address, Pope Francis noted it was the World Day for Migrants and Refugees, saying, “we think of many immigrants - many - many refugees, of the suffering of their life, many times without work, without documents, (with) many sorrows,” decrying the “merchants of human flesh” who seek to “enslave immigrants.”
“I would like to thank those who work with immigrants, who welcome them, who accompany them in their difficult moments,” he added, and who defend them from becoming “pawns on the chessboard of humanity”.
“Don’t lose the hope of a better future!” he urged. “I hope for you to live in peace in countries that welcome you, guarding the value of your culture of origin.”