MONDAY HOMILY: The Word was Made Flesh
The Prologue gives us a key to understanding the Gospel of St. John.
SUGAR LAND, TX (Catholic Online). Many histories, biographies, and other publications have an introduction composed by a learned critic, a friend of the author, or someone who has special insight into the subject of the book for which the introduction was written. The Gospel of John may be among the first publications with such a composition. Consisting of the first eighteen verses of the Gospel, St. John's poetic Prologue sets the stage for what follows.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (John 1:1).
The Prologue of the Gospel of St. John is a poetic text. It reminds us of the Song of Solomon from the Old Testament, and of the canticles found in St. Paul's Epistles. As a work of poetry, the Prologue cannot be understood as a simple presentation of events. Instead, St. John plunges the depths of the mystery of Christ and surfaces with inspired insights that color his entire Gospel.
It is useful to think of the Prologue as something of an explanatory key. Every map has a "key" which explains the meaning of the symbols used to chart various objects: roads, natural features, buildings, etc. In a similar way, the Prologue gives us a key to understanding the Gospel of St. John.
What are the "explanatory keys" of the Prologue?
There are several things that St. John wants us to grasp. First, the Word of God is a light for all peoples (John 1:1-5). Physical light illumines the darkness and shows reality in high relief. In a similar, but far surpassing way, spiritual light - which comes from Christ - dissolves the shadow of evil and enlightens the conscience. "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it" (John 1:5).
Next, the Prologue clarifies that John the Baptist was sent by God to prepare the way for the coming of Christ. He points to the light, but it is Christ alone who possesses the divine radiance. Jesus is called the "true light, which enlightens everyone" (John 1:9). We should pray for a share in this grace. Jesus possesses the answers to all of our questions and is the ultimate source of meaning and purpose for every human person.
St. John goes on to say that those who should have been most prepared and eager to recognize and accept Jesus rejected him instead (John 1:9-11). This is a sobering thought. Being a Christian does not preserve us from the possibility of being self-deceived about the state of our soul or the strength of our discipleship. Striving with God's help to be continually converted is an essential element of the Christian life.
When we live with that spirit of turning towards the Lord and receiving him, Jesus responds by giving us the grace to become children of God (John 1:12-13). "God is a Father - your Father! - full of warmth and infinite love.
- Call him Father frequently and tell him, when you are alone, that you love him, that you love him very much, and that you feel proud and strong because you are his son" (St Josemaría Escrivá, The Forge, 331).
"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the ...
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