Do you know what the Bible records as the first action of God, way back ‘In the beginning’ when he created the world? It’s in the Book of Genesis. We are told that God did something very simple - he spoke.
God said, 'Let there be light', and there was light.
In fact, if you read the first chapter of Genesis you will see God created everything simply by speaking the word of command – and it came to be.
- God said, 'Let there be a vault in the waters ...’
- God said, 'Let the waters under heaven come together ...’
- God said, 'Let the earth produce vegetation …’
- God said, 'Let us make man in our own image …’
The opening lines of the Gospel of John tell us more about the word of God. He states three things in one sentence:
- In the beginning was the Word:
- and the Word was with God
- and the Word was God.
- The Word of God existed even before the creation of the world, it existed in the beginning.
- It existed with God and so John distinguishes between God and the Word, they are separate and distinct.
- And yet, the Word was God.
The next line sounds like just a repetition but John adds a crucial word: He was with God in the beginning.
John doesn’t call the Word it but he - a personal pronoun – used to indicate here a person.
We will resist the temptation to now go looking for the Third Person, the Holy Spirit, and turn this into a homily about the Blessed Trinity, instead we’ll go on with what John is concerned to teach us.
Through him all things came to be ... This is consistent with what we learn from the Book of Genesis, that God made everything through his Word by ‘speaking’.
He was coming into the world… John is saying that the Word of God, through whom we are created, in whom we have life, was coming into the world! The eternal Word was coming to his own creation. How would the person of the Word do this?
He would do it by becoming human, one of us, and living among us. He did it by becoming flesh! The Word was made flesh and lived among us.
This is the feast we celebrate this morning – the Word made flesh in the infant of Bethlehem. It is an astounding mystery which has no parallel in human thought. Our God has joined himself to us and become one of us. He took to himself our human nature and through the Virgin Mary, overshadowed by the Holy Spirit, he became Man and lived among us. But:
- He was in the world that had its being through him, and the world did not know him.
- He came to his own domain and his own people did not accept him.
The dramatic unfolding of our rejection of the Word of God made flesh is the Paschal Mystery, the Easter story, but for now we wonder at the mystery of the Incarnation, the Christmas story, God’s love for us made Man.
Our Catholic Faith is a faith in mystery and for us mystery is not a locked door or a barred gate, it is an open door inviting us to enter. When we do so we find an immense banquet set out for us, a banquet of truth, of beauty and of love. We cannot consume it all but we can feed ourselves, day by day, according to our capacity.
God became man for us in Jesus, as Jesus became food for us in the Bread of the Eucharist. Let us adore him today. Let us meditate on him today. Let us give ourselves to him today, as he gives himself to us.