By Shannon Woodroffe
In John 1, St John mimics the Creation story of Genesis 1, giving us the re-creation story. Genesis begins “in the beginning”, describing the events of seven days, when God created the world through His Word, ‘speaking’ — to use human terms — His Word and bringing about creation — “Let there be light” (Gen 1:3), etc. On the seventh day, God finishes by resting (like the Jewish Sabbath). The Sabbath would later become a sign of God’s irrevocable covenant (§2171, Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC)) and the centre of Israel’s law (§348, CCC).
Similarly, St John starts “in the beginning” (Jn 1:1) with the Word made flesh — Jesus —through whom all things came to be and without Him, nothing came to be (Jn 1:3). He then identifies events day by day (like in Gen 1), then skips to the seventh day at the wedding feast of Cana (Jn 2).
At this wedding feast, there is a union of two persons in God. This union foreshadows our union with God to which He calls us in Heaven. Secondly, Jesus changes water into wine, which foreshadows His complete transformation of our humanity into divinity.
We hear in the Preparation of the Gifts in the Holy Mass, “By the mystery of this water and wine, may we come to share in the divinity of Christ who humbled Himself to share in our humanity.”
This event also foreshadows the Holy Eucharist, the Source and Summit of the Christian life (§11 Lumen Gentium, §1324 CCC), the Sacrament of Sacraments (§3, 65, Summa Theologiae III, §1211, CCC) and a sign of God’s New Covenant (cf Mt 26:28, Mk 14:24, Lk 22:20).
Rebirth and re-creation
But how does this relate to today? Easter is about Jesus’ Resurrection, His gift to us for our rebirth and re-creation. At Christmas, we celebrate that Jesus took on our humanity so that through Him, we may receive His divinity. We are not made to be God, but we are made to be like God.
Jesus closed the gap between God and man. Although He became fully man, He is, at the same time, 100 per cent God. And so, there could be no gap between Him and God.
He was murdered. However, being God, He could not be held by death. Having taken on our likeness, offering Himself to the Father as a sacrifice for everyone’s sins, the bonds of death were broken for all who ever lived and would ever live. He passed from this life to eternal life in communion with the Father. And having done this in our likeness, He bridged the gap between this life and eternal life for us all.
To cross this bridge between this life and eternal life, we must “put on Christ” (Rom 13:14). We must live through Him, with Him and in Him.
The only way to put on His divinity is to put on His humanity first.
Humanity could not cross the bridge before Jesus or without Jesus. We are only accepted, redeemed, and saved by God by virtue of Jesus’ life, death, and Resurrection.
As such, we must follow His example in all things, committing our lives to the individual mission which God has given to each of us and following the commandments which He gave us.
These commandments are not merely oppressive or outdated rules. Rather, they are the prescription on how to cross that bridge.
In Lent, we accompany the Holy Mother alongside Jesus on the Way of the Cross and in His Passion and death. Our crosses are not made of wood. They consist of following God’s commandments and giving up ourselves for Him to become more like Him. So that when we die like Jesus, we rise to eternal life with Him.
In the reception of the Holy Eucharist, God transforms us into Himself and unites Himself with us. He does this out of love, to prepare us to enter His family, to embrace us so intimately that we can come infinitely closer to Him and be one with Him in Heaven.
Just as He transformed the water into wine in Cana, the same person transforms the bread and wine that we offer into His own Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. And the same person can transform our humanity into His divinity if we will Him to.
In the time of Jesus’ human life, people were eating, drinking, getting married, working, studying, attending the synagogue, serving God and the list goes on.
The Jews, God’s chosen people, witnessed political uncertainty, military activity, and oppression in their own land.
Today, we see very much the same in our world. The call of God remains the same and His desire and ability to re-create and resurrect us…if only we take up our crosses and follow Him.
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