Monday, August 29, 2011
Mondays with Verbum Domini
We begin part III of this document, which focuses on the Church's mission to proclaim the Word of God to the World, with a look at the relationship between the Word and the Father:
The Word from the Father and to the Father
"Saint John powerfully expresses the fundamental paradox of the Christian faith. On the one hand, he says that “no one has ever seen God” (Jn 1:18; cf. 1 Jn 4:12). In no way can our imaginations, our concepts or our words ever define or embrace the infinite reality of the Most High. He remains Deus semper maior. Yet Saint John also tells us that the Word truly “became flesh” (Jn 1:14). The only-begotten Son, who is ever with the Father, has made known the God whom “no one has ever seen” (Jn 1:18). Jesus Christ comes to us, “full of grace and truth” (Jn 1:14), to give us these gifts (cf. Jn 1:17); and “from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace” (Jn 1:16). In the Prologue of his Gospel, John thus contemplates the Word from his being with God to his becoming flesh and his return to the Father with our humanity, which he has assumed for ever. In this coming forth from God and returning to him (cf. Jn 13:3; 16:28; 17:8,10), Christ is presented as the one who “tells us” about God (cf. Jn 1:18). Indeed, as Saint Irenaeus of Lyons says, the Son “is the revealer of the Father”. Jesus of Nazareth is, so to speak, the “exegete” of the God whom “no one has ever seen”. “He is the image of the invisible God” (Col 1:15). Here we see fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah about the effectiveness of the Lord’s word: as the rain and snow come down from heaven to water and to make the earth fruitful, so too the word of God “shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and prosper in the thing for which I sent it” (cf. Is 55:10f.). Jesus Christ is this definitive and effective word which came forth from the Father and returned to him, perfectly accomplishing his will in the world."
-Verbum Domini 90