Gospel Reflection for the 2nd Sunday of Christmas Year B – January 4th 2015
Full scripture for this Sunday is available on the Catholic Ireland website. Daily Scripture is also available. Our parish Prayers of the Faithful for this Sunday are made available on the Dublin Diocesan website.
In the beginning was the Word:
and the Word was with God
and the Word was God.
He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things came to be,
not one thing had its being but through him.
All that came to be had life in him
and that life was the light of men,
a light that shines in the dark,
a light that darkness could not overpower
A man came, sent by God.
His name was John.
He came as a witness,
as a witness to speak for the light,
so that everyone might believe through him.
He was not the light,
only a witness to speak for the light.
The Word was the true light
that enlightens all men;
and he was coming into the world.
He was in the world
that had its being through him,
and the world did not know him.
He came to his own domain
and his own people did not accept him.
But to all who did accept him
he gave power to become children of God,
to all who believe in the name of him
who was born not out of human stock
or urge of the flesh
or will of man
but of God himself.
The Word was made flesh, he lived among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory that is his
as the only Son of the Father,
full of grace and truth.
John appears as his witness. He proclaims:
‘This is the one of whom I said:
He who comes after me ranks before me
because he existed before me’
Indeed, from his fulness we have, all of us, received –
yes, grace in return for grace,
since, though the Law was given through Moses,
grace and truth have come through Jesus Christ.
No one has ever seen God;
it is the only Son, who is nearest to the Father’s heart,
who has made him known.
The big word for John the Baptist was witness. His life’s meaning was to witness to Jesus. He would search many ways for this Jesus, and knew in the end he was not himself the light others waited for but Jesus was that. He was glad to be a witness for Jesus.
Partnership and Witness
Being a christian is being in partnership with Jesus in his saving of the world. Pope Francis says, ‘The Church is fruitful and a mother when she witnesses to Jesus Christ.’ Unless we are in friendship with Jesus and in partnership with him, christian life is dull, sterile. What Jesus offered was first a relationship with him to John the Baptist, and also to any of his new disciples, and then to work with him.
The message of peace, justice and compassion is as relevant now as it was for Jesus. Pope Francis again: ‘We are not a ‘ religion’ of ideas, of pure theology, beautiful things, of commandments. No, we are a people who follow Jesus Christ and bear witness – who want to bear witness to Jesus Christ – and sometimes this witness leads to laying down our lives’. As did John the Baptist in the name of the One he not alone knew, but loved.
Becoming His Body
To want to spread the message of Jesus means wanting to receive it. Eucharist, prayer and reading the gospel are ways of deepening this message in ourselves. Can we say that these three aspects of faith will always be part of our lives? Then we may become what we receive and read: the body of Christ today.
Donal Neary SJ