Second Sunday after Epiphany
Sunday, January 19, 2020
Lectionary A

Isaiah 49:1-7
Corinthians 1:1-9
John 1:29-42
Psalm 40:1-12

¡Mira!  Is one of the most useful verbs in Spanish whenever you want to get someone’s attention.  “Look” or “Behold” instantly causes heads to move, eyes to fixate, and focuses hearing.  It functions the same in Spanish as in English except that in Spanish we are trained to stand in attention at this command.

“Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”  Spanish verbs demand attention and are the most complex parts of our grammar.  When I read the same verse in English I am drawn not to the verbs but the noun and subject, the Lamb of God.  When reading the Word of God my mind jumps back and forth between English and Spanish.  Knowing that revealing the Lamb of God as the Living Word is at the heart of Holy Scripture, my Spanish speaking mind immediately focuses on “look” and “takes away”.

¡Mira!  I hear an authoritative voice telling me to focus.  My heart is gladdened that something oppressive is being “quitado” or “taken away.”

Growing up as a child there were two slang phrases that always motivated us and called us to move forward.  The first was “pa’lante” or “onward.”  The other was “pa’rriba” or “rise up.”  Both phrases meet us at our lowest points and encourage us to move, “pa’rriba” y “pa’lante.”

My personal circumstances put me in a place where I receive and reflect on Scripture in both English and Spanish.  In English, I see Christ’s action of “taking away” – Christ’s own “raising up” or “taking up” of our sin in the Greek – as Christ simultaneously takes up our sin and lifts us up “pa’rriba” makes it possible for us to move “pa’lante.”

¡Mira!  Beckons us not only to look but it also serves as a spiritual call to action.  When we hear this in Spanish we know that not only is our attention being demanded but so is action.  John’s call to “look” or “behold” commands us that we are to do something with the knowledge that Jesus is “taking up” our sin.  John’s exhortation continues, “I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”

¡Mira!  ¡Pa’rriba y Pa’lante!  Rise up and move onward.  God’s Chosen one has not only taken away our sin, but he has lifted us up.  John’s call exhorts us to see, believe, be transformed, and testify. —¡Miren, ése es el Cordero de Dios!

The Rev. José Rodríguez is the rector of The Episcopal Church of Jesus of Nazareth in Orlando.
El Reverendo José E. Rodríguez es el rector de la Iglesia Episcopal de Jesús de Nazareth en Orlando.