In his Apostolic Letter: Tertio Millennio Adveniente, of November 14, 1994, Bl. John Paul notes that: Time is indeed fulfilled by the very fact that God, in the Incarnation, came down into human history….and….In Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, time becomes a dimension of God, who is Himself eternal. With the coming of Christ there begin “the last days”….the “last hour”…and the time of the Church, which will last until the Parousia. From this relationship of God with time there arises the duty to sanctify time. [paras.9, 10]
It is the eve of Palm Sunday/Passion Sunday, the threshold of the holiest week of the year, the week wherein Christ Jesus Incarnate will institute the essential food for our journey through time, the source of all we need to sanctify time, His very self in the Holy Eucharist, leaving us Himself also in the sacramental priesthood so we are never orphans, never deprived of the Sacred Food of His very self; then will come the day when to the last drop of His Blood He will pour Himself out in His redemptive love for us, opening the treasury of divine mercy, transforming the terror of death into the gateway of eternal life for when He arises all will be well, time will have achieved its purpose, namely to be the ocean upon which we travel in the bark of Peter from the shores of our created beginning, to the other side where He awaits us with His, the Father’s, the Holy Spirit’s everlasting embrace of love.
I will admit when the proclamation of the prologue of St. John’s Gospel was part of the end sequence of ever Holy Mass I never really understood why – now I do and admit I wish we would have it restored so that, as we all would genuflect, as we in those former days at the words: Et Verbum caro factum est……. we would grasp anew the splendour, the grace-gift, the purpose of our existence in the mystery of chronological time, transformed, indeed taken up into the mystery of the Trinity by Jesus Incarnate so that, in reality, we live no longer bound by chronological time but in the freedom of kyros [ in Greek Kairos] : that is the Lord’s time for as the Church wisely proclaims each Christmas ‘this IS the night/day’ – and each Easter ‘this IS the night/day’, indeed both solemnities are celebrated in the ‘this is’ for 8 days reminding us that time is in large part a great mystery as St. Peter teaches us speaking of the reality of a thousand as one and one as a thousand. [cf. 2 Pt. 3:8]
v. 14: And the word became flesh and dwelt among us….
Each of we human beings one way or another dwells amongst the ‘us’ of the human family.
We are created because two of us, hopefully in a committed union of love, knowingly or not, making the gift of self to other also make a gift of the necessary matter within which God breathes His very self, creating each one of us by a choice which is His choosing “I” that I should have existence in His image and likeness, an existence whose immediate and ultimate purpose is communion of love with Him, indeed in Him and through Him and for Him.
The ‘for Him’ is because while not a necessity as in we human beings have a necessity for air, water, food, etc., His being infinite of infinite Love, chooses not simply to create us as beings who are beloved but makes it that our loving Him becomes our very joy.
He dwells among us appearing as an ordinary baby, born of a woman, going through all the realities of human life, growth, development.
God journeying in time as we do from infant to toddler to child to juvenile to adulthood.
More, He dwells among us as, like each of us, needing air, water, food, clothing, shelter, companionship, not exempting Himself from poverty or cold, vulnerability or heartache, loneliness, betrayal, pain or even death.
Do you dwell among us as a homeless person with nowhere to lay your head, orphan, with a single parent or widowed mother, fleeing as a refugee, as one who labours with your hands or is engaged in intellectual work, a person enduring temptation or doubt, hunger, thirst, rejection, abandonment, being arrested, accused, tortured, betrayed, convicted, executed?
He has dwelt among us, indeed dwells among us in every reality/experience of every human being.
v.14:….and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
St. John is writing down his account of the life, teachings, sufferings, death, resurrection of Jesus towards the end of his own life, in his old age when he himself, one who had so loved and been faithful to Jesus, was about to cross the threshold, to arrive at the far shores of time and through death meet again, this time never to be departed from, the One Who loved/loves him and whom He loved/loves.
The glory, St. John refers to here is both that manifested in miracles, such as at the wedding feast in Cana, and a reference to the glorious beauty of the risen Jesus, also, more than any of the evangelists, St. John give us the most extensive teachings and prayers of Jesus in relation to His Father, as shall be meditated upon further on the deeper we go into the Gospel.
For now, in an age when the greatest distortion of truth is relativism, in an age when countless people declare either no need of nor belief in God, how urgently we Christians need to pray, in particularly during Holy Week, that ever human being will come to know, listen to, follow, embrace the One who not only ‘dwelt’ among us but through the Church, the Eucharist in particular, still dwells among us.
Thus we truly sanctify time!