In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. (John testified to him and cried out, ‘This was he of whom I said, “He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.”’) From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.
The beginning of John’s Gospel is a beautiful hymn. This beautiful hymn unveils and brings out the significance of all that Christ did and said. The things that he did were “signs”, and the meaning of them, hidden at first, could be understood only after his glorification; the things that he said had deeper meaning not perceived at the time but understood only after the Spirit who spoke in the name of the risen Christ had come to “lead” his disciples “into all truth”.
He whole of John’s thought is dominated by the mystery of the Incarnation, from the Prologue, which is today’s Gospel, with which the book opens. Here the revelation of Christ’s glory, which in the synoptic Gospels is associated primarily with his return at the end of time, has a new interpretation: judgement is working here and now in the soul, and eternal life, which is John’s counterpart to the “kingdom” of the synoptic Gospels, is made to be something actually present, already in the possession of those who have faith that marks us as Christian.
The mystery of Incarnation is God’s desire to communicate with us, to communicate with us at our terms. He became one of us and lived among us in history, so that we can understand who is He? And what He does for us. We believe that Jesus is the Word of God, God’s perfect expression. “No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known” (John 1.18).
In the year that starts today, let us grow in the knowledge of God so that we may receive of God’s fullness, grace upon grace. You took on this mortal flesh for us and lived among us. May this coming year bring us closer to Him as Cardinal Martini once said: “The Word was made flesh in the incarnation, and ever since we have tried to make that flesh into Word again.”
In my prayer today, I let what is at the heart of God reveal itself to me: life and light for all. I also take some moments to acknowledge what comes between me and this life God offers by identifying what darkens my heart and narrows my vision. Meanwhile, by reviewing my life in the past years, I pray for the grace to realise that the goodness and generosity of God are here for me as God longs to become present in the world through me.
To take a step further, as suggested by William Barry SJ, may I ask God grant me the grace from desiring to experience God’s and Jesus’ forgiveness to a desire to Jesus reveal himself, his love, his desires, his hopes, his fears, his hates, and so forth: a relationship of mutual intimacy with Jesus. Amen.