Sunday, 2nd of January
II Sunday after Christmas – Year C
Here we are in a new year, on this journey which, step by step, is guided by the word of God, by the gospel that every Sunday sheds a light in our everyday life. This Sunday’s reflection continues the one of Christmas, in which we found the same Gospel, the prologue of John. Thinking about it, this is a grace, because it is such a complex text, that perhaps can be best enjoyed in detail if read only twice. Or maybe two readings would not be enough, it is so beautiful and deep!
The prologue introduces us to the protagonist of the gospel: the word. It is a hymn to the word, a wonderful poem! What’s better than a poem, to describe beauty, to describe fullness?
As we already saw last Sunday, the hymn presents the Word in its relationship with God, in its relationship with creation, in its relationship with history, until the word becomes flesh, when we see God face to face, as in front of this manger rich in sweetness and mystery. What is the word? If we think about it, the word is what gives existence to humanity. Without words, we do not exist,we do not relate each other, we do not live.
Like a flight of an eagle turning on itself, fixing its gaze on its prey even from a great distance, John’s text describes the word revealing to us, gradually in more and more precise aspects. But in the body of the description, there are interruptions that seem almost not to be homogeneous with the rest, as in the case of the passages about the Baptist.
In fact, at a certain point, strangely enough, the hymn stops on the figure of John, a witness. But the witness is fundamental for the word: without a witness, without communication there is no word. The Baptist shows us, with his life, one of our duties in view of the new year, one of our commitments: we must bear witness to the light. The testimony is not the light! Sometimes we focus only on the prophets, we almost deify examples of virtuous men, but we forget that the light comes from elsewhere, it comes only from God! All the rest are idols. Witnessing is hard, in Greek it is “martyrdom”, somebody gives his life for this!
The word is light for everyone of us, beyond religions, beyond cultures and origins. But in the world, this light is not recognized, accepted. Why don’t we welcome it? Why do we know it, but don’t we recognize it? Whoever welcomes it is given the power to be a child of God: the word of truth “informs”, makes one become like God, makes one become God. It is the principle of divinization. Everyone is the word he/she listens to when it becomes like that.
This word becomes flesh: the economy of the word changes. How does it become flesh? Humanity lives by the word, and Jesus lived the word of the Father in his flesh. When we live the word of God, it is as if we begin to live the limitations and the fragility of our flesh in a divine way, in the relationship with others, in the relationship with creation, in the relationship with the cry of the poor, the fragile. In my fragile flesh I can be a child of God, if the word of God dwells in me. The cave of Bethlehem we visited last Sunday is the place that first saw this flesh, this new way for all humanity.
How much light, in front of those shepherds, that today we can also be, there by chance, at night, in the daily work, in the worries of life! No one has ever seen God, even though we often do it in our own image, as best suited to us. God is word, you don’t see the word, but you have to understand it. The word is told with life. The son, with his life, with his flesh, tells us what God is. The whole life of Jesus, which begins from that cave, is a narration of God. It is an “exegesis”, a “drawing out”, he exposes us, he explains to us that we are sons, brothers. That God whom we all try to imagine as we like best, reveals himself to us in humanity, as lived by Jesus.
The most beautiful wish, in this new year, is to walk together with the word of God and the gaze of Francis of Assisi, who said:“And since whoever is from God listens to God’s words, therefore we, who in a very special way are deputies to divine offices, must not only listen and practice what God says, but also, to root in us the height of our Creator and our submission to him, to guard the sacred vessels and liturgical books, which contain his holy words.” (FF 224).
In this word our destiny is at stake, in the light of this word we can understand all the beauty of what happened in the manger of Bethlehem, and perhaps our Christmas, in our encounter at the end of this journey of search in these weeks, takes on a sweeter taste.
We warmly wish you a Happy New Year!