Behold the Lamb of God, Jn 1:36At the Offertory, as the priest mixed a little water with wine, he prayed that we might come to share in the divinity of Christ. That prayer is now being answered, by the call to share in the supper of the Lamb. These words, together with their response – “Lord, I am not worthy…” – made by the priest and congregation, form our final act of preparation before actually presenting ourselves to receive Communion.
behold him who takes away the sins of the world. Jn 1:29; 1 Jn 3:5
Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb. Rev 2:7; 3:20; 19:9
The old translation rendered the Latin word ecce as “This is” instead of “Behold”, obscuring the quote of John the Baptist’s bold proclamation from the shores of the Jordan. It made the priest’s words a declaration instead of an exhortation to behold the Lamb. This “beholding” is much deeper than just externally seeing the Host – it is recognizing in the Host the Lamb of God, it is having our eyes opened by faith and knowing Him in the breaking of the bread.
The book of Revelation gives us the description of the Eucharistic feast as the "supper of the Lamb". St. John saw the new Jerusalem, the Bride of the Lamb, descending from Heaven. (Rev 21:9-10) Prior to this vision he heard the voice of a multitude in Heaven saying that “the marriage of the Lamb has come,” and then an angel told him to write, “Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” (Rev 19:7, 9)
The old translation of this part of the prayer (“Happy are those who are called to his supper”) masked the scriptural origin somewhat, although we should have known that the “his” referred to “the Lamb”. The new translation better renders the Latin, which is almost an exact quote of the Scripture verse: “Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb”.