Our Gospel for New Year’s Eve begins, “In the beginning was the Word/Omar/lamb. The Word/Omar/Lamb was with God, and the Word/Word/Lamb was God. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:1-5. At the end of the section we read, “As John watched Jesus walk by, he said, “Behold, the Lamb/Omar/Word of God.”
The Gospel writer, John, loves to use double meanings. Jesus is the Lamb of God, the one who sacrifices himself for others. He is also the Word of God. When Jews speak, of Torah, they have three things in mind. The first is the first five books of Moses. The second is the Old Testament. We must understand the Greek concept of the four causes. These are the formal, efficient, material and final. The efficient cause is the active agent, what actually causes things. The material cause is the acted upon. The final cause is the final product. The formal cause is the underlying structure that holds what we see of the object, together. The third understanding Torah is the formal cause of the world.
When John speaks of the Word, he speaks of Torah incarnate. John speaks of “Word,” using Jewish, not Stoic concepts. The word, “Messiah,” only appears twice in the New Testament, both in John’s Gospel. “Cephas” for Peter only appears in John, in Corinthians, and in Galatians. John seems to have the better knowledge of region and language. John tells us, “The true light enlightens everyone, and was coming into the cosmos… To those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God… The Word became flesh and made his dwelling in us…”
God dwells in us,” also has a double meaning. God dwells in a community in the same sense you the reader dwells in the community. John has a second meaning in mind, also. He dwells in each of us who partake of the Eucharist. We become children of God. When God indwells in us, the essence of Christ dwells in us and enlightens us. We treat each other as family. We treat our planet as fellow parts of the same creation. The Aramaic for “Truth,” is “Ameth.” This is the “Alpha,” the middle letter of the Aramaic alphabet, and the last letter, which is in the shape of a cross. When we have the truth in us, we realize we are part of this grander whole.
John uses “Cosmos,” for the world. “Cosmos,” has the same root as, “cosmetics.” “Cosmos,” is the ordered world, the put together world we see when woman put that stuff on. When we realize we are part of God’s ordered world, we strive to guard and to keep it, as Genesis says. Jesus enlightens the world, and we enlighten the world by bring Jesus who dwells in us to it.
John tells us, “Come and see.” He does not say, “Come with your bibles and show people Gospel quotes. When Philip says, “Come and see,” neither has a bible with them. Philip has a light within him, which came from seeing Jesus. Nathanael responds to the light within Philip. Enlightening the world means having that indwelling spirit within us, and showing that light by being children of God, and extending life to others. Jesus is the life of the world, not darkness and death. Jesus is Torah, the formal cause of the world, not black splotches on pieces of paper bound together with cardboard. Jesus is light and life. When others see our light and ask where it comes from we say, Come and see.” When they come to Mass, we they come to Mass, do we show them light and life? Let our “Come and See,” be light and life for all this New Year! Le Chaim!