Today’s reading for the Mass is the Prologue of St. John’s Gospel (John 1:18). And what a reading it is!
The Prologue is perhaps, word for word, one of the most powerful, breathtaking, poetic and theologically-packed passages in the Bible. Of course, it is focused, as it must be, on our Lord Jesus Christ.
It’s not possible to offer a full exegesis on the Prologue in a short post (or a long post, for that matter!); instead, John’s use of “The Word” will be briefly reviewed.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1).
There is a lot here, but here are some essentials that amplify the complete awesomeness of Jesus:
- “In the beginning” – Recalls the very first words of the Bible in Genesis: “In the beginning” (Gen 1:1). John will go on to assert that Jesus Christ was at the beginning with the Father. What this means is that to understand the Old Testament, beginning at the beginning, you must realize that the whole scope of Salvation History is about Jesus! John is also implying that his Gospel is of momentous importance because it is linked to very first words of Scripture.
- “was the Word” – The Greek word that John uses is “Logos” which means “statement or utterance.” This is powerful, for Logos had both deep philosophical and biblical roots. The Greeks (philosophy) used “logos” when describing the order, or design that was apparent in the universe from their perspective and the intelligible expression of the Divine Mind of God in the world. Biblically, “logos” is used to describe how God brought the world into beginning with the simple utterance (Gen 1:3, Ps 33:6; Wis 9:1). “Logos” is also the wisdom of God (Prov 8:23; Sir 24:9). John takes this rich history and reveals something awesome: not abstract, “Logos” is actually a Person! And that Person is Jesus!
- “the Word was with God” – John is saying that Jesus Christ, preexistent, was with God at the beginning, but was somehow separate from God (“was with”). Jesus and the Father are separate Persons who share the same nature in the eternal Godhead (CCC 254-56).
- “and the Word was God” – John is saying that Jesus is Divine and actually is God (CCC 242). Jesus is not just a wise teacher, a great man, a tremendous philosopher of some other lofty human; Jesus Christ IS God.
Of all the men who have ever lived, there is no man who comes close to the Son of Man, the Word who was with God and is God from the beginning. Meditating on John 1:1 and discerning its meaning can help us to be awed by Jesus.
Of note, for a fuller catechesis and to grow in biblical knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, CatholicManNight highly recommends The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible with commentary by Dr. Scott Hahn and Mr. Curtis Mitch. It an essential resource for Catholic men who wish to grow in the awe and love of Jesus Christ: