First impressions are everything. My favorite novel centered on the importance of making a good first impression and the effects that a bad one can create. One way that the Gospel of John stands out is that he didn’t use a narrative the way Matthew and Luke did or skip directly to the action the way Mark did. Instead, John takes a page out of Genesis and starts his gospel with
“In the beginning, there was the Word.”
In the original Greek, John uses the word “logos” which means “wisdom.”
Jesus is the Word, which meant that when John said
“The Word was with God,”
it meant that Jesus was there at the beginning of Creation, with God the Father. John continues on to say
“And the Word was God,”
emphasizing the fact that Jesus and His Father are one.
“All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be”
is a shorter version of the creation narrative, put in a more poetic metaphor. Without God, without Jesus, there is no life.
There’s a part in the prayer of the Angelus that quotes John 1:14:
“And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.”
When John describes God becoming man, the mystery of the Incarnation, he puts emphasis on the fact that God became man. Just stop right there and think about this for a second. The creator of the universe stepped down from the infinite and became a creation, a finite being.
In the world of writing, there is a term called “Author Avatar” which is a character that represent the author himself or his personal beliefs about a situation. But God is doing more than just inserting himself into a story as a mere character. He is the Author becoming part of the story. He is no longer the God in the machine, but a flesh and blood human being.
So why would the Author of Life, the king of everything, take on a finite, vulnerable, flesh and blood form? John the Baptist gives the answer: “From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace, because while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. “ Grace and truth. Coming from the Author of Life himself. We are saved by God’s grace and Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.
As Jesus will say later in the Gospel,
“No one comes to the Father except through me.”
God never showed His face to anyone because they would disintegrate at the sight of it. But through Jesus, God reveals Himself and his true face. I once heard it joked that God broke His own rule of creating an image of Himself. Well, God was the one who wrote that rule so He had all the more reason to break it. He wasn’t creating an image of Himself out of narcissism or vanity, but out of necessity. What’s even more mind-blowing is that Jesus then offers that same flesh and blood as part of what will become a sacrament for us.
This is a lot to take in, sisters in Christ, so I hope that you take the time to meditate on these passages in front of the Blessed Sacrament or in a quiet place. God bless!