THE WORD MADE FLESH
“He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, He gave them power to be made the sons of God, to them who believe in His name.” John 1:10-12
1. Before He was manifested in His human nature, the Word was in the world. He was in the midst of creation, manifested in it for anyone to see who would. Says St. Paul: “For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things which are made, His eternal power also and divinity, so that they are without excuse,” who refuse to recognize Him (Romans 1:20). And in his discourse to the people of Athens: “God, Who made the world and all things therein. . . giveth to all life, and breath, and all things . . . and hath made one of all mankind to dwell upon the face of the earth . . .that they should seek God, if happily they may seek after Him and find Him: although He be not far from every one of us; for in Him we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:24-28).
2. “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.” Not only was the Word manifested to the whole world, and the world as a whole did not recognize Him, but to His own people, the people He had chosen from all others, He was specially manifested; to them He specially came. To them He was revealed in type and prophecy, among them He came and dwelt at the Incarnation, for their good first of all, for the “lost sheep of the house of Israel”; yet from them He received mainly coldness; they did not want Him, therefore they would not recognize Him, therefore they did not know Him, therefore they would have none of Him. So it has been ever since. Men complain that He is not manifest; but it is the will that is wanting, not the intellect. We could see Him if we would; if we would we could become of His own.
3. “As many as received Him, to them He gave power to be made the sons of God, to them that believe in His Name.” On which St. John comments: “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, he is the son of God. . . . This is the victory that overcometh the world, our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:1-5). And this sonship is true. “We have received the spirit of adoption of sons, whereby we cry, Abba, Father” (Romans 8:15). It begins in faith; it is effected in baptism; it is continued and brought to perfection in the life of grace and the indwelling of the Holy Ghost; it is consummated in the glory of the body as well as of the soul in heaven. “Brethren, you are now the sons of God, but you know not what you shall be.”
Summary Meditation Points:
1. He was in the world–as its Creator, as its Preserver, stamped upon it so that anyone might read His presence in it–and the world knew Him not–because it would not.
2. He came unto His own–in a special manner to His chosen people, through the prophets, and finally in one of themselves–and His own received Him not–because they would not.
3. But as many as received Him–no matter who they were–to them He gave power to be made the sons of God–even in this world; in the next world what will it mean?
Editor’s Note: This meditation is from Archbishop Alban Goodier’s “The Prince of Peace” (1913).
Art for this post on the Word made flesh: Quintuplet Cluster, NASA, image feature 557, undated, PD. Mirror of Archbishop Alban Goodier, S.J., www.stmaryscadoganstreet.co.uk, all rights reserved, used with permission.