A Reflection for December 2022 by Sister Bernadine Reyes, OSB, Prioress
As I looked at the month of December to select one reading to reflect on, I was a bit overwhelmed by the difference in themes throughout the month. We have the theme of Advent, dotted with the theme of Mary through the feasts of the Immaculate Conception and of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Then for Christmas we have different readings for Christmas Eve, Mass at Dawn, and Mass during the day. Following Christmas we have the Octave of Christmas, early saints, and the remembrance of the Holy Innocents. Oh my, such a full month and what a rich month for our reflection.
In the end, my choice was to offer a few reflections on the Gospel of John, from the Mass during Christmas Day. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” There is a cosmic dimension in this Gospel that expands all meaning in life. “All things came into being through the Word and his life was a light to the human race.” A few sentences later we read, “And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. The Word, Jesus, “pitched his tent among us.”
It is all mystery: the Word, God, Jesus, chose to “become flesh”, to come as a helpless infant, totally dependent on others, and to live among us.
Reflecting on Christmas, through the lens of this Gospel, always brings me to deep silence; to deep gratitude for the generosity of God to us as a human race. God chose to come as a human being, to walk with us for a while to teach us how to live with one another. Can we fathom this gift we have been given – God “becoming flesh”?
My hope is that we not only deepen the message of this Gospel, but that it colors the lens by which we look at each other has we walk our days on this earth. Especially as we experience growing gun violence, wars, untrue public rhetoric, and racism. Let us honor the One who came to “pitch his tent among us.”
I would invite us to reflect on this particular Gospel, John 1:1-18, in preparation for celebrating this mystery of God’s Incarnation into the world.