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Merry Christmas!

With Luigino Bruni's commentary on the Christmas Gospel for Famiglia Cristiana, the EoC staff wishes you a Holy Christmas of peace and serenity.

published on Famiglia Cristiana on 24/12/2020

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 1,12-16

In the beginning was the Logos, the Word. Logos is an important and very rich Greek word, but in order to understand its meaning, instead of Greek philosophy we must think of what the Word was in the Jewish world. In biblical humanism the Word was, practically, everything. To intuit this we should be friends of the Bible, fellow citizens of its many inhabitants. The Bible is the humanism of the word. Today there remains a strong trace of it in the liturgy and in the Christian sacraments, when the reality of things changes by saying words.

In the Bible, God - YHWH - was the Word; he was 'a voice'. "No one has ever seen God” (Jn 1,18 - the tr.) but some have heard him, some have heard his voice. The Patriarchs, Moses, the prophets heard it. And they told it to us. One day that ancient and wonderful voice became a child. Therein lies Christmas: believing that in that child there is the Adam, there is Abel, Noah and Abraham and their Covenants, Jacob, his sons and Rachel, Moses and the Law of words, David, Tamar, and then all the prophets, 'God’s quotes', up to John. And with them there are also Cain, Hagar and Ishmael, Joseph's brothers, Saul, Uriah the Hittite, Jezebel. Jesus is true man as well as true God, because that Word-Verb-Logos become flesh is God's word spoken with human words, with all of the human words.

Faith tells us that Jesus did not know sin, but the gospels tell us that he knew the limitations and emotions of humans like us. He suffered thirst, he wept, he was moved, he became outraged, he felt the feelings of friendship, he cried out for being abandoned. Jesus can save us all because in his flesh is all the Word.

For centuries every mass ended with the recitation of the Prologue from the Gospel of John. Perhaps the most theological of all the gospels, this text has accompanied the daily popular piety of the Christian people. So if we struggle to understand the mystery of the Holy Trinity and the Incarnation, we can all understand, as men and women, that the word has become flesh. For the word is flesh, it is blood and bone. Only the 'word' of idols is vanitas, wind and smoke. The word of the living is body, and the word of the God of the living affects the flesh, transforms us, and transforms history.

The word become flesh tells us what the body is in Christianity. It has infinite value and dignity. Every body, healthy and sick, young and old, has a piece of the Trinity in it; and is also made of heaven.The entire Bible holds our flesh in high esteem. The first sign of the covenant between God and Abraham is the circumcision of the flesh. The prophets, all of them, speak with their whole body, they say 'oracle of the Lord' not only with their mouth but with their whole flesh.

On that holy and unique night the Word became flesh because, in some way true, it already had been. And it continued to be so until the end, nailed to a cross, resurrected with the stigmata of the passion. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us". Merry Christmas!

Credits photo: Enrica Bruneri

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