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The Word life and light

· The Sisters of Bose ·

John 1:1-18

“In the beginning”: let us still be filled with wonder at the poetic hymn which opens the Fourth Gospel. The whole Bible opens with an “in the beginning”. Indeed, in the first verses of Genesis we read that “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”, he called into existence the light that shines, spreads and fills every fold of creation with harmony, order and beauty, granting to life the ability to germinate and blossom.

Paul Klee “At the Core” (detail, 1935)

“In the beginning was the Word” (Jn 1:1). Before everything, every thought or preoccupation, every presence or absence, the Gospel according to John proclaims a word to us, the God-with-us who comes to us as a word, the Word, as a relationship, light and life. “The Word was with God, and the Word was God” (Jn 1:1).The Word on which all things depend, by which all things are sustained, in life as in a verbal statement. Without the Word, there is no communication, no dialogue, no life. We need someone who wants to be in communication, who speaks words and someone who dares to accept them, who responds to them with trust and with impetuosity. Thus, through grace there will be ground for communion. God comes to us because he is always waiting for us. He comes to us as a Word through whom all has been done, a vital principle which is why all things come into existence – whether we recognize it or not, whether we accept this light or remain in the darkness, in the indistinct.

The Word who was at the beginning does not hesitate to show himself in history, in the earthly passing of our days. The Evangelist introduces us to “a man sent from God” (Jn 1:6) whose name was John, the witness come “to bear witness to the light, that all might believe through him” (Jn 1:7). John the Precursor, the one who was capable of pointing out Jesus of Nazareth as the eternal Word of the Father, who had the courage to step aside, to remain on the margins in order to leave room for him, of whom he could say that he ranked before him because he was before him (cf. Jn 1:15). Jesus is the true light who came into the world, the light which came from God being in the heart of the Father, which came to illuminate every man, to brighten and warm those who are lying in the shadow of death, to guide their steps on the way of peace (Lk 1:79). He himself, the light that shines, is peace, called to be resplendent in each one and in all, because for this reason he was at the beginning.

Anthony McCall “You and I Horizontal” (detail, 2005)

Light, like the Word, like life, asks to be welcomed, it does not impose itself. It comes freely and leaves us free, free to recognize it in our fragments. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (Jn 1:14): the Word who was with God gives himself, he dares to come so close to man as to become his own flesh, his own frailty. Man becomes the dwelling place of the Word, he becomes the Word’s radiance – if only we make room for him, if only we let ourselves be reclothed from within! Human beings can recognize themselves as generated by God, children of God himself, of that God the Father whom no one has ever seen nor can see, Scripture tells us, and yet he reveals himself in the Only-Begotten Son and becomes narration. The Son comes to us “full of grace and truth”, full of splendour and fidelity, recapitulating in himself the entire history of each person and of all humanity, the history of the Covenant which in Moses has a friendly and certain foundation. In the Son, the Word who was in the beginning, we may recognize the fullness of every grace or every blessing, even beyond, further than and through the evil ways by which history is scarred, every human life is marked by limitation, by the enigmatic, by the incomprehensible, by fear, by every death. “In the beginning was the Word”, he is life: and if he exists since the beginning he cannot but exist until the end, until the end of our days, of our every expectation and hope, of our every word, spoken or only imagined, heard or skimmed over, desired or avoided, longed for and beseeched.

Come among us, Word of life, light invoked, and make us able to become your reverberation!




St. Peter’s Square

Dec. 10, 2019