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The Word in the World

January 1, 2014

Tuesday, December 31, 2013: The Seventh Day in the Octave of Christmas

1 John 2:18-21. You have the anointing that comes from the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.
John 1:1-18. The Word became flesh.

Gospel Reflection:

Praise be to Jesus Christ! For evermore!

This opening Prologue of John’s Gospel is probably the most discussed passage in the New Testament. It’s themes of life, light, the world, truth, grace, testimony and the preexistence of Jesus Christ the incarnate Logos leap off the page and fill the air. I am not likely to add anything learned or new here.

First and foremost, for many it is easy to see the parallels he draws here and to the First Story of Creation in Genesis. So let’s remember Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, 2 the earth was a formless wasteland and darkness covered the abyss, while a mighty wind swept over the waters.” What is that? The Hebrew is Ruah Elohim – the mighty storm-wind; the Wind of God – the Holy Spirit of God.

Then God said, ‘Let there be light, and there was light’… Then God said, ‘let there be a dome in the middle of the waters’. Then God said… then God said.” What is that!? God spoke it, and it came to be; God’s personal will is expressed in his word. This is THE Word, the Logos, the second person of the Trinity, the Son of God. John makes sure we tie the two accounts together. He is not just introducing the new creation of Christ, but Jesus the creative Word of God who already existed at the beginning of time. Unlike created things, there never was a time when the Word was not. That’s why John starts us off with The Word over, and over again: There never was a time when the Word was not.

there never was a time when the Word was not

Now when John says the Word was in the world, he does not mean it as mere existence. Life is not mere existence – even inanimate things like rocks exist. Life for John signifies some kind of sharing in the very being of God. The darkness he mentions is the opposition of light, and by using it as a constant antagonist, he means that which is set in opposition to God, the rejection of God, which is natural to a world bound over to sin; our world. Man is in darkness, but he is not darkness itself. For this the light of the human race shall not be overcome.

Most importantly, the Evangelist skillfully and purposefully winds the themes of God in this Christological hymn with the recounting of John the Baptist’s announcement of the Messiah’s coming to the world. Not only is the glory come back – the s kinah the presence of God that was lost, has come back – but that “we have all received grace in place of grace.” Meaning the Old Covenant has now been replaced with the New Covenant. The new and last Covenant that we as Christians are responsible to stay faithful to. John does this all in his first verses, saying, ‘stay tuned, this Gospel is a page turner!’

Finally, let us remember today, as we all prepare to turn a page to another year, and set forth “in stone” a whole new list of resolutions, that the most important resolution of all is to be responsible to, and to stay faithful to – God’s Covenant with us.

Happy New Year,

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