And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.
The amazing thing about today’s verse is that it is still news–even to many Christians. There is an ancient temptation to overlook or downplay the reality of the Incarnation. We are incorrigible spiritualizers. Early heretics tried to deny altogether that God came in the flesh in Christ. These days, we’re often willing to grudgingly admit he did so, but then we act as though the sooner we put the implications of that behind us, the better. It’s okay if the Word is flesh 2000 years ago on the other side of the world. But bishops with apostolic authority in our own town? No, that’s too much. We tend to want a God who does not reveal himself through the messiness of the Church. We tend to prefer a God who is something more like a concept than the living God Man Christ Jesus who still speaks to us in a thoroughly human way through his body, the Church. But nothing has changed. If we listen to the Church he has sent, we are listening to him.