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, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. 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. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. 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. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him.
But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. 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.
(John testified to him and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’”) From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translation
“The path of Jesus began on the peripheries, it goes from the poor and with the poor, towards others.”
Pope Francis recently spoke these powerful words at St. Joseph the Worker, a Jesuit Parish in a poor neighborhood called Kangemi in Nairobi, Kenya. On this Christmas day, I invite us to pray over these simple, yet profound words of the Holy Father as we contemplate the amazing gift of God becoming human, choosing to be poor and vulnerable so as to share the wisdom of the poor with all of us.
Have I had a personal experience of recognizing the wisdom of the poor? Do I savor that experience, as St. Ignatius invites us to do? As I make resolutions for the new year, might one of them include finding some concrete ways in which I could have more direct contact with the materially poor so that I might be more open to what our God who comes from the poor has to say to me?
—Fr. Brian Paulson, S.J. serves as provincial superior for the Jesuits of the Chicago-Detroit Province of the Society of Jesus.
Lord Jesus Christ, your heart was moved with love for those in need. You healed the sick, you fed the hungry, you forgave sinners, you cried over Jerusalem. Above all, you showed the pathway to true life, for you are the Way the Truth and the Life.
Open my heart this Christmas season. Help me find practical ways to build your Kingdom of justice, peace and love here on earth. Amen.
—A Jesuit Refugee Service Prayer