Why did St. John say the Word become flesh, instead of the Word became man?
Just one verse each day.
Before praying the midday Angelus on Sunday, Pope Francis reflected on the beginning of John’s Gospel, read at the liturgy.
The Gospel starts with “in the beginning,” the same three words that begin the whole Bible, in Genesis.
In the beginning was the Word, John says, indicating, according to the pope, God’s desire to communicate with us.
John goes on to say, and the Word was made flesh. Pope Francis drew from this unique word choice a reflection on our weaknesses:
And to do so, [to communicate with us,] He went beyond words. In fact, at the heart of today’s Gospel we are told that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (v. 14). The Word became flesh: Why does Saint John use this expression “flesh”? Could he not have said, in a more elegant way, that the Word was made man? No, he uses the word flesh because it indicates our human condition in all its weakness, in all its frailty. He tells us that God became fragile so He could touch our fragility up close. So, from the moment that the Lord became flesh, nothing about our life is extraneous to Him. There is nothing that He scorns, we can share everything with Him, everything. Dear brother, dear sister, God became flesh to tell us, to tell you that He loves us like that, in our frailty, in your frailty; right there, where we are most ashamed, where you are most ashamed. This is bold, God’s decision is bold: He took on flesh precisely where very often we are ashamed; He enters into our shame, to become our brother, to share the path of life. He became flesh and never turned back. He did not put our humanity on like a garment that can be put on and taken off. No, He never detached Himself from our flesh. And He will never be separated from it: now and forever He is in heaven with His body made of human flesh. He has united Himself forever to our humanity; we might say that He “espoused” Himself to it. I like to thing that when the Lord prays to the Father for us, He does not merely speak: He makes Him see the wounds of the flesh, He makes Him see the wounds He suffered for us. This is Jesus: with His flesh He is the intercessor, he wanted to bear even the signs of suffering. Jesus, with His flesh, is in front of the Father. Indeed, the Gospel says that He came to dwell among us. He did not come to visit us, and then leave; He came to dwell with us, to stay with us. What, then, does He desire from us? He desires a great intimacy. He wants us to share with Him our joys and sufferings, desires and fears, hopes and sorrows, people and situations. Let us do this, with confidence: Let us open our hearts to Him, let us tell Him everything. Let us pause in silence before the crib to savour the tenderness of God who became near, who became flesh. And without fear, let us invite Him among us, into our homes, into our families. And also – everyone knows this well – let us invite Him into our frailties. Let us invite Him, so that He may see our wounds. He will come and life will change. May the Holy Mother of God, in whom the Word became flesh, help us to welcome Jesus, who knocks on the door of our hearts to dwell with us.
What did Our Lady see in Jesus’ wounds?