Daily Reflection
December 31st, 2003
Jeanne Schuler
Philosophy Department
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1 John 2:18-21
Psalm 96:1-2, 11-12, 13
John 1:1-18

The Word Becomes Flesh
How would we recognize the highest truth if we ever came upon it?
Would it command the skies like a stunning solar event?
Would words uttered in unforgettable ways still the chaos and misery at last?
Would a ruler like no other arrive?  This kingdom will subdue the earth.
Or would something slouch past us quietly?

Hard to make out in dim light.
Too ordinary to notice.
Just a man.  Looks poor.  He’s not our kind. 

To approach the highest truth, say the wise ones, we must be dragged out of ignorance to behold a dazzling light.
Truth is universal.
Not in time or space, not in flesh and bones.
Like a word or idea, truth leaves the earth behind.
It dwells in eternity.

No one ever thought to look for truth in a cave.
We’re supposed to flee the cave.  Get rid of the shadows.  Don’t look back.
Transcend the flesh.
Rise above suffering.
Deny the individual.
Only the universal matters.

You knew how hard it would be to find you.
People are always looking in the wrong direction.
You sent your cousin John to prepare us.
What!  You have a cousin?
What kind of truth are you?

Light first arrives as a softening of the night.
Darkness loosens its grip.
The world takes shape.
Forms appeared in the dimness.
Trees, a river bank, birds huddled on the branch.
The earth slowly becomes visible.  It is beautiful.
You are present in who we are.

Their truth would not become flesh.
It was too mighty to walk upon this dry earth.
Sandals filled with dust.

Scholars discover many communities among the early Christians.  And many disputes.  Was he truly human or an apparition?  Was he really divine?  Did the divine nature only descend at his Baptism or was it in the garden that God entered history to fulfill the promise?
We tuck these scholarly thoughts away.  More insight.  You are present in scholarly controversy, too.  But scholars don’t always know it.

We try our best.  God, show us your face.
In the word, in the light, in the kingdoms of the living and the dead.
In the man called Jesus.
In the quiet presence of the poor.


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