Origin and Ancestry Print
By Romano Guardini   
Friday, 27 December 2013

If someone in Capharnaum or Jerusalem at the time had asked the Lord: Who are you? Who are your parents? To what house do you belong?—he might have answered in the words of St. John’s gospel: “Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I am” (8:58). Or he might have pointed out that he was “of the house and family of David” (Luke 2:4). How do the Evangelists begin their records of the life of Jesus of Nazareth who is Christ, the Anointed One? John probes the mystery of God’s existence for Jesus’ origin. His gospel opens: 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 were made through him, and without him was made nothing that has been made. . . . He was in the world, and the world was made through him, and the world knew him not. . .And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us. And we saw his glory— glory as of the only-begotten of the Father— full of grace and truth. . . . (JOHN 1:1–14). Revelation shows that the merely unitarian God found in post-Christian Judaism, in Islam, and throughout the modern consciousness does not exist. At the heart of that mystery which the Church expresses in her teaching of the trinity of persons in the unity of life stands the God of Revelation. Here John seeks the root of Christ’s existence: in the second of the Most Holy Persons; the Word (Logos), in whom God the Speaker, reveals the fullness of his being. Speaker and Spoken, however, incline towards each other and are one in the love of the Holy Spirit. The Second ‘Countenance’ of God, here called Word, is also named Son, since he who speaks the Word is known as Father. In the Lord’s farewell address, the Holy Spirit is given the promising names of Consoler, Sustainer, for he will see to it that the brothers and sisters in Christ are not left orphans by his death. Through the Holy Spirit the Redeemer came to us, straight from the heart of the Heavenly Father. Son of God become man—not only descended to inhabit a human frame, but ‘become’ man—literally; and in order that no possible doubt arise, (that, for example, it might never be asserted that Christ, despising the lowliness of the body, had united himself only with the essence of a holy soul or with an exalted spirit,) John specifies sharply: Christ “was made flesh.” Only in the flesh, not in the bare spirit, can destiny and history come into being.


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