The Second Sunday of Christmas
Daily Word 2014. To download this as a free android app from Play Store, click here. iPhone version online soon.
5th January. The Second Sunday of Christmas
Theme: The more our standard of living improves, the less we might practice the virtue of hospitality. But this virtue is not an optional extra for whoever values our Christian identity.
First Reading: Book of Sirach 24:1-2, 8-12
(Lyrical praise of the wisdom God has revealed to us)
Wisdom praises herself,
and tells of her glory in the midst of her people.
In the assembly of the Most High she opens her mouth,
and in the presence of his hosts she tells of her glory:
“Then the Creator of all things gave me a command,
and my Creator chose the place for my tent.
He said, “Make your dwelling in Jacob,
and in Israel receive your inheritance.”
Before the ages, in the beginning, he created me,
and for all the ages I shall not cease to be.
In the holy tent I ministered before him,
and so I was established in Zion.
Thus in the beloved city he gave me a resting place,
and in Jerusalem was my domain.
I took root in an honored people,
in the portion of the Lord, his heritage.
Second Reading: Epistle to the Ephesians 1:3-6, 15-18
(We are God’s adopted children, through his only Son, Jesus.)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love.
He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.
I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, and for this reason I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints.
Gospel: John 1:1-18
(The eternal Son of God has become human for our sakes, full of grace and truth.)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John . He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.
And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. (John testified to him and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.'”) From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.
Homily thoughts: The Word Became Flesh
[These notes are from Tommy Lane].
In 1850 John Millais (1829-1896) painted a picture of Jesus working in Joseph’s carpentry workshop, entitled Christ in the House of His Parents. Jesus had given himself a bad gash in his finger and blood streamed down onto his feet. Mary was there comforting him. Although only an imaginary incident, it portrays well what John means in his Gospel today, The Word became flesh.
In the first line of his Gospel, John makes us jump in at the deep end by beginning immediately with his description of God, In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God. But because the Word became flesh we would expect Jesus to have the same emotions as us, and he did. ) He loved other people, Martha, Mary and Lazarus, his disciple John and the rich young man. He even cried at times of severe personal stress; when his friend Lazarus died and before entering Jerusalem when he knew that the city would not accept him as the Messiah. He enjoyed social occasions. We read of Jesus attending various dinners, so often that a mocking rhyme was made up, calling him a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax-collectors and sinners. Jesus felt pity for people when he saw them suffering, so when they were hungry he multiplied the loaves and fish. He got angry when people used the Temple for the wrong purpose. He needed companionship, so he took Peter, James and John into his confidence on many occasions and John was his close friend. At the end of a long day Jesus fell asleep in the boat, he was tired like all of us. He felt fear before his passion, “Father let his cup pass me by” and openly admitted, “now my soul is troubled.” Imagine, Jesus saying how his soul was troubled. When John says the Word became flesh, he really means it, deeply.
The Word dwelt among us. Jesus didn’t just become flesh and live a quiet life. He became flesh and dwelt among us. He was a man of the people. That’s why they said of him, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax-collectors and sinners. When curing the lepers he touched them. Lepers were not supposed to come near towns and according to Jewish Law Jesus would be impure after touching a leper and could not enter the Temple or synagogue until after washing. But Jesus was a man of the people, he dwelt among them, and so Law or no Law, when a leper wanted healing he touched him. Because Jesus was a man of the people he concentrated much of his ministry among those who really needed him most, the sinners. They knew they were welcome in his company, he was known as a friend of sinners.
This Word, Jesus, became flesh, and dwelt among us, and made the Father known to us. The last line of our Gospel today says, No one has ever seen God, it is the only Son, who is nearest to the Fathers heart, who has made him known. John is saying the reason why the Word became flesh was so that we would get to know the Father. Jesus is the Fathers Word to us. Jesus is the revelation of God the Father. How do we get to know the Father? By getting to know Jesus. Jesus says I am the way, and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. When Philip asked, Lord, show us the Father — and then we shall be satisfied, Jesus answered “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. Do you not believe that I’m in the Father and the Father is in me?” He himself, the Word made flesh, is the way to the Father. If we want to know the Father, we must get to know Jesus. How do we get to know Jesus? By spending time together with him, when we pray to him and think about him, and when we read the Gospels. We cannot say that it is too difficult to get to know God. He has revealed himself to us in his Son Jesus.