Prologue to the Gospel of John: The Word became flesh

Father Lawrence Heiney

But to those who did accept the Word

He gave power to be children of God,

Who were born not from human stock or human desire or human will

But from God Himself.

The Word became flesh,

He lived among us, and we saw His glory,

The glory that He has from the Father,

As the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth.

Jn 1,12-14 (NJB)

“The Word became flesh” states the meaning of Christmas. In the Nicaean Creed, it is said that the Son came from heaven and by the Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary and became human. Jesus is the emanation of the Father and is God as the Father is. In all ways He is equal. The Son has joined a human nature to the divine nature in the womb of Mary with the Spirit hovering over Mary. Jesus is like us in all ways except HE DID NOT SIN. He experienced our mortal nature in all ways. He could be tempted. He could be sick. He could forget things. He had to learn and then grew in wisdom and grace. Yes Mary had to change his diapers. Maybe He was a child prodigy but He would have been humble. HE DID NOT SIN.

God choose to live among us. He lived in the flesh and blood. The Word took on a body and soul. The glory of the Father was shown in Him. This human was full of grace and truth.

At the end of the first century a group of people incorporated Jesus into their teachings. They held that Jesus only pretended to be human. Some type of divine being had put on a human shell like a costume. That ‘human’ only pretended to die. The being was released from the shell. John affirms that the Word fully became human.

Indeed from His fullness we have, all of us, received—

One gift replacing another,

For 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 close to the Father’s heart.

Who has made Him known.

Jn 1,16-18 (NJB)

We have received one gift replacing another. The Word became flesh. The Son shared the glory of the Father. Jesus replenishes the grace and truth. “Jesus lives,” this is the Gospel summarized. He is one gift. But in Him is all time. All has come to be through Him. He lives in all time.

Prologues introduce readers to the main themes of the work. John lays out for us the themes of His Gospel. Chapter 1 shares with us the whole ministry of Jesus. The glory of the Father surrounds as we read the Gospel. It is not one event on a single day. On Christmas, it is the fullness of the Person of Jesus – true God and true man, which we celebrate.

We Catholics on Christmas kneel and pause in wonder when we say that the Son was incarnate and became man. May we all pause on that day before ho we have been transformed in Christ through forgiveness unto everlasting life! Merry Christmas

Father Lawrence Heiney is minister at Holy Angels Roman Catholic Church in Mount Airy.

Father Lawrence Heiney

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