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The Power of Love

We have found the Messiah -- which means the Christ
I Samuel 3:3-10,19; Psalm 40:2,4,7-10; I Corinthians 6:13-15,17-20; John 1:35-42

Sermon Week Second Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle B

Scripture Summary John 1:41

In the days of the Roman persecution, one of the worst things that could happen to a Christian was being sent to the Numidia mines in North Africa. There, the prisoners were brutally whipped, marched through rocky valleys, burned by the sun, branded on their brow with a hot iron, chained so that they were unable to stand erect, and sent into the dark pits to work interminable hours. It was indescribable suffering. Later, when the mines were opened to visitors, it was discovered that these early Christians had etched little words and slogans on the caves' walls in which they were working. Of all the many words that appear there, two appear more than any others. One is the word "Christ" (Christos); the other is the word "life." In that environment of terrible suffering, the two things they thought of most were Christ and life, for it is Jesus who comes to make abundant life possible -- even in the midst of the suffering in our lives.

We are born for life! So says our very nature. And so, says the Bible. Born for life! In Biblical terms, this means that we humans have a spiritual dimension that is 'immortal" and "incorruptible" -- that is to say, our "soul." It means that as whole human persons, we can make decisions. It means that as whole human persons, we are capable of freely self-giving. It means that as whole human persons, we are oriented toward perfection.

Jesus has come into the world that we "might have life, and have it to the full" (Jn. 10:10). In the words of today's Gospel Lesson, "Behold the Lamb of God! ... We have found the Messiah!" (Jn. 1:36,41).

The famous Danish sculptor Thorvaldsen had a burning ambition to create the most splendid statue of Jesus ever made. He began by shaping a clay model of a regal figure with head thrown back and arms upraised in a gesture of triumph. It was his conception of Christ the King: strong and dominant.

"This will be my masterpiece," he said when the model was complete. [...]

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