“Lamb of God…” is a prayer of humble petition and invocation to Jesus Christ to purify the soul from every sin. It is also an immediate preparation before approaching the table of The Lord.
Then follows the invitation for the people, who are prepared, to come and take part in the banquet of The Lord. The priest, raising the consecrated host so as to be seen by the people, invites with the words: “Behold the Lamb of God … blessed are those who are called to the supper of The Lord”.
Everyone, who would like to participate in the supper of The Lord, responds saying: “Lord! I am not worthy to receive you ….” It is possible that we may not realize the significance of this response, because we recite this during every Mass, which we participate in. We may be led to say this prayer as a habitual act. Let us remember that it is exactly the words which the centurion, a Roman military officer, pronounced to Jesus, before receiving him into his home to heal one of his servants, who was sick. Imagine, how humbly this officer has invited The Lord, in spite of his power and authority! What are we, after all! Let us welcome The Lord with the same feeling and attitude of this officer. Since God comes into our soul with immense love, let us actually receive him into our soul with love and joy.
At the same time, since God comes into our soul, it is very important that we keep our soul pure. We must never receive unworthily with a mortal sin. If one is stained with a mortal sin, and there is no opportunity to go for Confession, then he/ she should sincerely feel sorry and ask internally for forgiveness from The Lord, before going to receive the Body and Blood of Our Lord into his/her soul. Nevertheless, at the next opportunity, it is better to go for Confession and be cleansed through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
For those who think, why one should go for the Mass and receive the Body & Blood of The Lord, let me remind what Jesus has declared: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you” (John 6:53). “… he who eats this bread will live forever” (John 6:58).
To be continued,
Fr. Arul Joseph V