Beautiful Preachers - Loyal Witnesses

First Reading (Is 52: 7-10) The whole world sees the salvation of God
Second Reading (Heb 1: 1-6) God speaks to us through the Son
Gospel (Jn 1: 11-18) The Word became flesh
Chinese classics:
-“The Way that can be told is not the Way: the name that can be named is not the Name.” (1)
-“Wind or rain, overcast or brightness, are external circumstances; deep in my heart there is only the bright sun and the colorful sky” (2)

“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 came into being through him. In him was life, and the life was the light of all people. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father's only son, full of grace and truth.” (Jn 1: 1-18)

The above passage was written by the Apostle John in an attempt to speak about the Almighty God, the Most High, the True Spirit whom it is impossible to describe accurately.

Lao Zi said, “The Way that can be told is not theWay: the name that can be named is not the Name.” (1) What he meant was that when the Way can be spoken, it is not an everlasting Way; when a name can be called or an object can be named, it is not a lasting name.

God, the source of all creation, is the eternal Way, intangible, eternal, indestructible, almighty, infinitely true, good, beautiful and loving. God's existence and Being is far beyond our senses, vision, mind, reason, intelligence and wisdom. On this earth it is impossible for us to know and grasp God completely, the God who is the all-High, Supreme true Spirit.

In trying to comprehend God, let us use an example from the material world. If you have never seen a cup, you certainly will not be able to know what a cup is from its shadow. For instance, from the shadow of the cup you cannot know its size, weight, texture etc. because you are measuring a three-dimensional object with a two- dimensional tool, a solid with a plane.

The eternal Way, the infinite God, does not belong to a two- or three - dimensional space, nor a four or five, or a thousand or ten thousand, or any dimension or space at all. We who live in this world, limited by our experience of time and space, cannot in any manner or fashion understand this infinite God who is beyond space and time. When it comes to comprehending God, there is a gap in our knowledge so wide and broad that it amounts to ignorance.

A God whom we could describe or write about in human language would not be the eternal, infinite God. Yet it is this infinite God who today became human, took on flesh and blood and lived among us, who experienced pain and suffering in this human world, tasted worries and troubles and shared the heavy burden of being human.

Catholicism does not only place importance on the next life, but also on this life; it not only affirms that happiness is meaningful, but also that suffering has meaning; it not only accepts life, but also death. The main reason is because God Himself has accepted and blessed all these things.

This is the good news. The Prophet Isaiah said: “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news, who announces salvation. Break forth together into singing, you ruins of Jerusalem; for the Lord has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem.” (Is 52:7 –10, summary).

The foundation of the Good News is Christ. He came, he entered into this human world and blessed and affirmed it, he modified and elevated everything in our human world, including our broken lives. Even the 'ruins' of Jerusalem could rejoice because the ruins were no longer ruins, darkness was no longer darkness, pain no longer pain, death no longer death. Because as the Chinese poet says, “wind or rain, overcast or brightness, are external circumstances. Deep in my heart there is only the bright sun and the colourful sky.” (2) Because Christ is “the bright sun and the colourful sky” in our lives. He came and drove away the darkness.

Christ's coming has yet another important mission which is to speak to us. “Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son.” (Heb 1: 1-2) . He announced the secrets of life and the universe, he told us of the riches and beauty of life, of life's mystery and depth. He told us how to live happily and how to live in accordance with God's plan and build on earth a paradise like unto heaven.

Today we celebrate Christmas. Aside from celebrating with great joy and happiness, we should also reflect deeply and seriously on how we should repay God for the gifts God has given us.

Indeed, the best repayment is to spread the Good News, announce to others the true and joyful message that God has spoken to us and Christ has elevated our lives. It really must be our experience that we already have heard the word of God and are striving to live the bountiful, joyful life that Christ has bestowed upon us.

At this happy time let us make this promise to God: We will be joyful messengers and loyal witnesses.