First reading Ecclesiasticus 24:1-2,8-12
From eternity, in the beginning, God created wisdom
Wisdom speaks her own praises,
in the midst of her people she glories in herself.
She opens her mouth in the assembly of the Most High,
she glories in herself in the presence of the Mighty One;
'Then the creator of all things instructed me,
and he who created me fixed a place for my tent.
He said, "Pitch your tent in Jacob,
make Israel your inheritance."
From eternity, in the beginning, he created me,
and for eternity I shall remain.
I ministered before him in the holy tabernacle,
and thus was I established on Zion.
In the beloved city he has given me rest,
and in Jerusalem I wield my authority.
I have taken root in a privileged people,
in the Lord's property, in his inheritance.'
Second reading Ephesians 1:3-6,15-18
Before the world was made, God chose us in Christ
Blessed be God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us with all the spiritual blessings of heaven in Christ.
Before the world was made, he chose us, chose us in Christ,
to be holy and spotless, and to live through love in his presence,
determining that we should become his adopted sons, through Jesus Christ
for his own kind purposes,
to make us praise the glory of his grace,
his free gift to us in the Beloved.
That will explain why I, having once heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus, and the love that you show towards all the saints, have never failed to remember you in my prayers and to thank God for you. May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give you a spirit of wisdom and perception of what is revealed, to bring you to full knowledge of him. May he enlighten the eyes of your mind so that you can see what hope his call holds for you, what rich glories he has promised the saints will inherit.
Gospel Reading John 1:1-18
The Word was made flesh, and lived among us
In the beginning was the Word:
and the Word was with God
and the Word was God.
He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things came to be,
not one thing had its being but through him.
All that came to be had life in him
and that life was the light of men,
a light that shines in the dark,
a light that darkness could not overpower.
A man came, sent by God.
His name was John.
He came as a witness,
as a witness to speak for the light,
so that everyone might believe through him.
He was not the light,
only a witness to speak for the light.
The Word was the true light
that enlightens all men;
and he was coming into the world.
He was in the world
that had its being through him,
and the world did not know him.
He came to his own domain
and his own people did not accept him.
But to all who did accept him
he gave power to become children of God,
to all who believe in the name of him
who was born not out of human stock
or urge of the flesh
or will of man
but of God himself.
The Word was made flesh,
he lived among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory that is his as the only Son of the Father,
full of grace and truth.
John appears as his witness. He proclaims:
'This is the one of whom I said:
He who comes after me ranks before me
because he existed before me.'
Indeed, from his fullness we have, all of us, received -
yes, grace in return for grace,
since, though the Law was given through Moses,
grace and truth have come through Jesus Christ.
No one has ever seen God;
it is the only Son, who is nearest to the Father's heart,
who has made him known.
In today's Gospel, we see Jesus presented as the Word. In a beautiful poetic way, the writer St. John brings us to the very beginning of time and reminds us that the Word was there from the very beginning.
Although it is difficult for us to conceive of this creation moment, we are connected to it in a special way. St. John writes that '…not one thing had it's being but through him.' And this includes us.
He also gives us the assurance that, if we come to know Jesus, we will become children of God: it is in short a poetic genealogy about ancestry going back to the very beginning, to God our Father, the Father of all.
We do not have quite the family orientated outlook as in the time of Jesus. But nevertheless, we recognize the importance of family and family history. To be able to trace our own line back to the beginning, and to say that we are the children of God, is an amazing thing.
In the midst of this assurance is the added sadness that his own people did not accept him. We see this very clearly in the Jesus ministry, and we see it today, too. There are of course people who have never accepted Jesus. But there are also those who think that they accept him, but who really do not have him in their hearts. They remain closed to themselves, closed to others, and closed to Jesus who is the way to the Father
John writes: 'The Word was the true light that enlightens all people.' this true light is at variance to the light that many of us follow, that is, the false light of pride and wealth and power. Jesus came to give us the light that is himself, and by doing so he makes us children of God. This is our extraordinary inheritance, and by following Jesus' way, we shall become his children and find our way to paradise.