I mentioned the possiblity of a sneak-peak at my meditation for my home parish’s bulletin insert.  Here it is!  Have a wonderful Gaudete Sunday!

The Word Became Flesh…

By the time Christmas rolls around, we are already full of cookies, wassail, and Christmas cheer. The carols have been playing since before Thanksgiving, and while the Christmas lights in the snow still give us a magical feeling, we are too often unaffected by the real Spirit of Christmas. The Word became Flesh and dwelt among us (Jn 1:14). We’ve heard John’s mystical phrase so many times it no longer gives us goosebumps. Perhaps it never did.

On that cold evening in Bethlehem, Light came into this world of darkness. The eternal God, Who by His nature is beyond space and time, entered our world at a precise moment in history, sanctifying time and the world He created. He came to save us from the death we had chosen and to win our hearts back to Him. In the fullness of time, “He humbled Himself to come among us as a man” to fulfill the plan He “had formed long ago [to] open for us the way to salvation” (Preface for Advent I). The God we could not see, of Whom the prophets longed to catch a glimpse, came to the earth to seek us out. In Christ the invisible God became visible, as Isaiah had foretold, “No longer will your Teacher hide Himself, but with your own eyes you shall see your Teacher” (Isaiah 30:20).

Before Christ’s coming, God “spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets” (Heb 1:1). It was revelation, but a veiled revelation. With Christ’s coming, God spoke in fullness, with utter completeness. When He spoke fully, He spoke one Word. Christ. Christ is the fullness. He contains in Himself the entire law and the prophets. Vatican II tells us that in Christ “the full revelation of the supreme God is brought to completion” (Dei Verbum 7).

Revelation, the dialogue between God and man, has reached its final meaning in Christ. But does this mean that God is silent now? No! God, in Jesus Christ, is constantly addressing every man. “Your eternal Word leaped down from heaven in the silent watches of the night, and now Your Church is filled with wonder at the nearness of her God” (Opening Prayer, Christmas Mass at Dawn)

Where? Where do we find this close encounter, this “nearness” of our God? The recent Synod on the Word of God reminds us, “the encounter with Jesus, Word of God made flesh” is an “event of grace that reoccurs in the reading and hearing of the Sacred Scriptures….it is hoped…that each of the faithful will personally possess the Bible.” The Bishops are not calling us to “possess” the Bible by interpreting it however we’d please, but by living it and bringing it into our daily lives.

Reading the Scriptures daily enables us to become familiar with the text so that it becomes as much a part of us as the food we eat. Because the Word is Christ Himself, the Scriptures are not dead pages of history, but living text written for us, here and now. Pope Benedict tells us, “It is important to read Sacred Scripture in a very personal way, and really as St Paul says, not as a human word or a document from the past as we read Homer or Virgil, but as God’s Word which is ever timely and speaks to me. It is important … to enter into prayer and thus read Sacred Scripture as a conversation with God.”  This conversation must be a common occurrence, for only deep, frequent conversation will affect our lives. It is the greatest love story ever written, and it is written for each of us personally. “What is right and important is for us to read the Bible regularly, to let it keep us company and guide us” (Pope Benedict).

Because we are not a People of the Book, but a People of the Word, we must always remember that the Scriptures are at home in the liturgy and flourish there. As we listen to the Word of God at Mass, it should burn within us, preparing us to receive the Word made flesh after He comes on the altar of sacrifice for us.

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us… “He is no longer distant. He is no longer unknown. He is no longer beyond the reach of our heart. … For us, God has become a gift. He has given Himself. He has entered time for us” (Pope Benedict). This Christmas, accept God’s gift. Embrace His Word in wonder. Allow God’s Word to guide you through the rest of the year, making it a part of your lives. Read Scripture daily, even if it’s just for a few minutes before you turn off the light at night. It’s one gift you won’t want to return.

Although this is a Christmas carol, not an Advent hymn, it seems fitting to listen to today!  Enjoy!