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December 23, 1994     The Message
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December 23, 1994

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23,1994 The Message  for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 13 -" Commentary .- A different Christmas story: Prefact to the Gospel of John Gospel commenta,, for : 1 I was brought forth .... Before the 8Cuhnday, December 25; J19;4, - ...... ] i mountains had been shaped, before nristrnaa Day, Third Mass X: / the hills, I was brought forth CycleC, dohnl:l.18. ' I When he established the heavens, I Wh / I was there .... I was beside him like en we think of the stor,, of :::: k,.Jk ]1 a master workman "The Wisdom of u efirst Christmas, our thouglts 7 / I Solomon also speaks of wisdom as j^? m Mary and Joseph, the baby I , / the consort of God's throne and "she .us, a stable, angels, shepherds, lv ] I who was present when you made ngs With gifts fit for a kin,, and / the world" But in 18"14-15 "When ORr tl e,, , or a, ativity sets that iclude some / I peaceful silence lay over all and the ::vthe above. All or most of Bv FATHER I night had run the half of her swift ve are included in the DON DILGER course, down from the heavens ;Preadmgs of midnight Mass COLUMNIST I from the royal throne, leapt your thira  v, ass at dawn. There is a -- all-powerful WORD." The concept of ... ,,,ass of Christmas with a God's word as a person is ,pel reading that includes none of the above widesnread throughout the Old Testament. For ex- p:o:rt_heless; it too is a Christmas story. It is the ample, the words of Isaiah: "For as the rain and the ,_ or preface of the Gospel of John. snow come down from heaven.., so shall my word  oegms with the famous words "In the begin- be that goes forth from my mouth .... It shall ac- and the Word was with God and .Was God." Our earliest gospel, the Gospel Introduced Jesus as Son of God at his bap- and Matthew introduce him as Son of COnception. John reaches back into infin- to speak of an eternally existing k on human flesh or became a given time. The idea of God's spoken as uncreated being from all eternity of an Old Testament concept we call Wisdom Literature, for exam- of Proverbs and .the Wisdom of The Book of Proverbs speaks of "wisdom" Speaks of "word". of Proverbs: "The Lord possessed me of his work, the first of his acts of I was set up, at the first, before the the earth. When there were no depths complish that which I intend, and prosper in the purpose for which I sent it." With Old Testament texts like these as background, John penned the opening words of his gospel. John designs his preface or prologue to express the various purposes of his book. Chief among them would be to demonstrate from the Old Testament that Jesus of Nazareth is the same person as that eternal Word of God to which he referred in his opening lines. Thus he adds in 1:14, "And the WORD was made flesh and pitched his tent among us." In 1:17 he finally identifies that Word of God as the one who brings genuine truth from God, as Jesus Christ. In 1:18 he sums it all up by calling him "the only Son who is in the bosom of the Fa- ther" and "has made him (the Father) known." Throughout the prologue there lurks in the background a battle for the allegiance of various groups. The first group is the Jewish people. Their sacred scriptures, the Torah, are described in ter- minology that John adopts to describe Jesus. Some of the terms used for the Torah: Word of God, eter: nal, life, light, grace, truth, eternal, present at cre- ation, in fact all those texts quoted above that served as background to John's prologue. John sim- ply takes this terminology and demonstrates that Jesus is the TRUE life, TRUE light, etc. He even uses the first word of the Torah as the first word of his gospel - the word that is translated as "In the beginning." John also speaks to the followers of John the Baptist in a brief paragraph in which he affirms John's mission as secondary to that of Jesus. He says John the Baptist was NOT THE LIGHT, but was only to bear witness to the Light. The struggle between disciples of Jesus and disciples of John the Baptist over who was the true Messiah was still going on at the end of the first century when John the Evangelist wrote his gospel. Finally, John addresses the whole human race. He assures them that when the Word of God was made flesh and lived among us, he came not just to his own people but to all who would believe in him as Son of God. On this Christmas Day, a day meant to assure peace to all people of good will, we would do well to remember that Jesus was sent equally to all regardless of race, color, gender, social status, or national origin. The peace which Jesus is supposed to bring will come only when we put into practice the equality affirmed in the words of John that to ALL who receive him he gave power to become chil- dren of God. EyeD' human being is actually or po- tentially a child of God and our sister and brother. Readings: Isaiah 52:7.10; Hebrews 1:1-6. ttejoice! The Word became flesh and dwells among us! Oh, come, let us adore him! I COMPLETE INSURANCE SERVICE Auto! Home! Fire & Life! Your Personal Service Agent James L. Wdl Ins. Agency Inc. I 1925 W. Franklin Street 425-3187 424.2555 As we celebrate the birthday of ourSavior, we askHim to ,00fcss you for allyour spirit- ual and financialsupport o ' thright our wora" at Bir 20 PadSt. Evansville, IN47710 "May your holiday be trimmed with peace and love, as we wish one and all a very Merry ' Christmas/ News WEB TELL CITY, INDIANA PRINTERS FOR THE MESSAGE FOR DUBOIS COUNTY BANK MEMBER OLD NATIONAL BANCORP Member FDIC ...d /,a,' a , 'v 7J One DCB Plaza, Jasper 6th & Mill Sts., Jasper Sunset Terrace, Jasper Germantown, Jasper Southgate, Jasper Ferdinand Haysville St. Anthony Celestine Ireland