Monday, May 2, 2011

Mondays with Verbum Domini

The Church receives the word

The Lord speaks his word so that it may be received by those who were created “through” that same word. “He came among his own” (Jn 1:11): his word is not something fundamentally alien to us, and creation was willed in a relationship of familiarity with God’s own life. Yet the Prologue of the Fourth Gospel also places us before the rejection of God’s word by “his own”, who “received him not” (Jn 1:11). Not to receive him means not to listen to his voice, not to be conformed to the Logos. On the other hand, whenever men and women, albeit frail and sinful, are sincerely open to an encounter with Christ, a radical transformation begins to take place: “but to all who received him, he gave power to become children of God” (Jn 1:12). To receive the Word means to let oneself be shaped by him, and thus to be conformed by the power of the Holy Spirit to Christ, the “only Son from the Father” (Jn 1:14). It is the beginning of a new creation; a new creature is born, a new people comes to birth. Those who believe, that is to say, those who live the obedience of faith, are “born of God” (Jn 1:13) and made sharers in the divine life: sons in the Son (cf. Gal 4:5-6; Rom 8:14-17). As Saint Augustine puts it nicely in commenting on this passage from John’s Gospel: “you were created through the word, but now through the word you must be recreated”. Here we can glimpse the face of the Church as a reality defined by acceptance of the Word of God who, by taking flesh, came to pitch his tent among us (cf. Jn 1:14). This dwelling-place of God among men, this shekinah (cf. Ex 26:1), prefigured in the Old Testament, is now fulfilled in God’s definitive presence among us in Christ. (VD 50)

(Emphasis in bold is mine.)

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