Lion of Judah. Lamb of God.
Corpus Christi Sunday
June 19, 2022 •
So why is Jesus called the "Lion of the Tribe of Judah"? Well, the lion was the symbol of the tribe of Judah - that's the simple explanation. But also the lion, as anybody knows, is the king of beasts. That's the way God made lions, they are absolute top predators.
Oftentimes throughout history, we have had ruling families or kings take the lion as their symbol. Dominance. Power. Authority. This tradition began with Israel. The kings in Israel always had the lion from the tribe of Judah as their symbol.
Jesus, we know, is the King of kings, and He is a child of Judah, of Israel. So the lion uniquely belongs to Him as a symbol because it reveals His power. As God He rules over all things. God is all-powerful. But even as a man, He is superior to all other men because He is perfectly holy and always obeys the will of his Father.
So both as God and man, He is superior to all others. Therefore, He is the King of kings, the ruling One, and the Lion is His name. He is the Lion of the tribe of Judah. And He wants you to think of a lion when you hear that name. He wants you to be intimidated.
We have a natural fear of the power, of the danger of a lion. The scriptures are full of instances in which we are taught to fear God. In fact, fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. It is a gift of the Holy Spirit. And you should fear Him. Fear His kingliness, fear His power. You absolutely should. And that's why he is the Lion.
But He is also the Lamb. We have to try and resolve this seeming contradiction, because lions eat lambs, not the other way around. So how can Christ be both? Our Lord is trying to reveal to us a deeper mystery of who He is. Humans have never had a problem believing that God is all-powerful. But we do often struggle to recognize how gentle God is. How loving, and how merciful.
That's why He sent His Son into the world. That's why He suffered and died sacrificially in this way. He would say: Even though I am the Lion of Judah, I come to you as a lamb. Gently, in weakness. Just to draw close to you, to be near you.
Our Lord is both these things, and we see this most beautifully in the eucharist. Our Lord has made Himself food for us. That's how close He wants to be to us - to dwell within us. To facilitate that, He transforms bread and wine into His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity so that He could dwell within you. Not just spiritually - He can do that through Baptism - but even physically, where you become one flesh with Him. A holy marriage.
He knows He has to do this very gently, because you're skittish, like lambs. You get scared very easily. So He approaches you like one.
Today is also Father's Day, and I think this is a very important lesson for all of us fathers. . .
Father Miller continues with convicting, insightful encouragement and advice for fathers.
Gn 14:18-20; Ps 110:1-4; 1 Cor 11:23-26; Lk 9:11b-17
Homily begins at 21:01