The Word Made Flesh

prologue-johnJesus was not born into a time of theological vacuum. Jewish theology was robust and with a history of succeeding and competing rabbinic schools. The followers of Jesus and the people of his time were Jews who were raised and lived this theology. It provided the framework for their daily lives and shaped their expectations about the Messiah, the Anointed One, who was to come. Among the gospels, John’s is the writings whose work expresses the fulfillment of those expectations and provides the theology for those that would follow Jesus. The basis of the theology is evident from the opening: John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and Word was God…” Continue reading

Context in the 4th Gospel

prologue-johnJohn the Evangelist has deftly changed the narrative presented in the Synoptic Gospels. Here in the fourth gospel the story of Jesus is not ultimately a story about Jesus; it is the story of God as God reveals God’s self in the person of Jesus. Thus the narrative is well placed in Advent at the head of the liturgical year: “In the beginning…Continue reading

Context and Advent

prologue-johnThe prologue and beginning of the Gospel according to John appears on the 3rd Sunday of Advent (Year B) as well as the gospel for the Mass on Christmas during the day (all years) and in some small part on the 3rd Sunday of Christmas (all years). In all the uses John the Evangelist is orienting the reader of the gospel with a fusion of traditional materials: a hymn about the pre-existing Word of God, John the Baptist, as well as many OT images. The goal of the fusion is most powerfully seen in the closing verses of the Prologue (vv.14-18) in which the language about God and Word (v.1) become the language about Father and Son (v.17). The story of the Word becomes identical with the story of Jesus. The Word becoming flesh (v.14) is the defining event of human history in which the relationship of God and humanity is forever changed in the Incarnation. The Incarnation means that people can see, hear, and know God in ways never before possible. Such is the effect of the divine light in the world. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race (vv.3-4) Continue reading