We believers have many and diverse images of God. From childhood, we gradually form our own idea about him. We are, in this regard, conditioned above all by what we hear from catechists and preachers, what is communicated to us at home and in school, and by our lived experience of religious celebrations and practices.
All these images we shape for ourselves about God are imperfect and deficient, and we need to purify them time and again throughout our lifetime. We should never forget this. John’s Gospel resoundingly reminds us of a conviction that permeates the whole of biblical tradition: No one has ever seen God.
We theologians talk a lot about God, almost always too much. It seems that we know all about God, but in reality no theologian has seen God. The same thing happens with preachers and religious leaders: they speak with just about absolute certainty; it seems that within them they have no doubts whatsoever, but in reality not one of them has seen God.
How to purify, then, our images so as not to disfigure God’s holy mystery? John’s Gospel itself reminds us of the conviction that sustains all Christian faith in God. Jesus alone, the only Son of God, is the one who has revealed him. Nowhere else does God uncovers his heart for us and shows us his face as he does so in Jesus.
God has told us what he is like by being made flesh in Jesus. God has not revealed himself in doctrines and sublime theological formulas, but rather in the endearing life of Jesus, in his behavior and in his message, in his self-giving even to death and in his resurrection. In order to approximate God, we have to get close to the man in whom God comes out to meet us.
Every time Christianity ignores Jesus or forgets him, it runs the risk of drifting away from the true God and of replacing him with distorted images that disfigure his face and keep us from partnering with him in the project of building a new world that is more free, just and where people are brothers and sisters to one another. That is why it is so urgent for us to recover Jesus’ humanity.
It is not enough to confess Jesus Christ theoretically or doctrinally. We all need to get to know Jesus on the basis of a more concrete and vital closeness to the Gospels. We all need to be attuned to his project, to allow ourselves to be animated with his spirit, to enter into his relationship with the Father, to follow him closely day by day. This is the exciting task of a community that today goes through life purifying its faith. Whoever knows and follows Jesus will keep enjoying more and more God’s unfathomable goodness.
January 3, 2016
2 Sunday of Christmas (C)
John 1, 1-18