An Unblemished Lambby George Miller on 02/15/12
There's a tie-in with a practice of the Jewish people in the Book of Malachi, and the ministry of lector.
The customs of post-exilic Judah in Malachi's time were filled with religious abuses. Men were divorcing the wives of their youth and marrying young attractive girls, worldly riches were prized, the poor were cheated and despised, and their beliefs that irreligious people fared better than the devout prevailed.
Temple worship was out of hand as well. Priests were offering animal sacrifices from sick and diseased stock instead of from healthy and unblemished "prized" lambs as their ancestors once did. They were placing defiled food on the Lord's altar.
In response, God said, "When you offer a blind animal for sacrifice, is there no wrong in that? When you offer a lame or sick animal, is there no wrong in that? Present it to your governor! Will he be pleased with you, or show you favor?" (Mal 1:8)
How does all this relate to us as we approach the lectern on Sunday? Are we offering God an unblemished lamb in our proclamation by preparing well and putting forth our very best effort? Or are we holding back our time and effort in the same way the Jews in Malachi's time held back their choicest lambs?
Have we ever offered God an unhealthy lamb in our proclamation by merely brushing over our reading or showing up fifteen minutes before mass poorly prepared? Probably not as a habit, but we're all prone to slip from time to time.
So let us always strive to offer God a pure and unblemished lamb from the lectern. A lamb that will please him. A perfect lamb digested by our fellow parishioners with earnestness, devotion and joy.
The Book of Malachi is a wake-up call for me. I hope it touches your heart as well.