What do these two phrases have in common:
“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” (Jn 1:29)
“Behold, the handmaid of the Lord.” (Luke 1:38, Angelus)
They begin with the word “behold,” as in, stop everything and pay attention to something really great! But they also refer to two metaphors that are actually not that great. They are actually very weak.
Usually, when we hear the word “behold” it refers to something great and powerful.
Yet, here John the Baptists points to Jesus calling him a lamb. Could there be anything less powerful? A lamb?
Similarly, when the angel Gabriel came to Mary and the Holy Spirit came upon her, she said “behold” not pointing out her greatness, but her humility. She declares herself to be a humble handmaid–a servant of God.
Both titles (lamb and handmaid) defer greatness to God. As lamb and handmaid, Jesus and Mary show a deep sense of self-sacrificial love for the Father and the deep sense of humility that we are called to imitate in the world.
Lambs were sacrificed for the forgiveness of sin. Handmaids lived in service of others.
What do we have to behold about you? How can you show the humility of Christ and Mary by serving God today?