“Flesh To The Word”
One of the fruits of a life whose centre of gravity is God and the real needs of others will be that the Gospel will ”take flesh” in the lives of people.For a moment, let us put ourselves in the shoes of newly-ordained Jean-Claude Colin as he stood on the hill of Cerdon where the church stands.
What was going on in the mind of this shy young priest as he looked down on the village below?
Colin was a stranger to the place: the countryside was different, the people’s accent was different, their mentality, way of life, interests, were all different.
Yet later he was to say with some pride that he had learned to understand the Cerdonese people. And from being a preacher whose style was wooden and dead, he became the one whom the hardened men liked to listen to. He was the one to whom the bar keepers in the villages liked to go to confession.
In time, he had begun to learn how to speak “a new language” or at least how to understand a different language. His transformation at Cerdon enabled him to give flesh to the words he spoke.
Contemplating the mystery of Mary in the Church can be an enormously liberating challenge. A great religious problem facing people before the time of Christ was the problem of God - “out there”, beyond their reach, needing to be appeased, ready to judge and punish, and difficult to know or approach. In Christ, this “God problem” was solved. In Christ we have been able to see God. At one moment in time people have heard, seen, touched the very person of God. The Word of God has become flesh.
Mary, with her YES to God’s invitation to be the mother of Christ, brought God to a level that the world can understand.
Mary gave flesh to the Word.
Today, it is Christ who is hidden and unknown to many. People need to see something of Christ, and they look to Christians to satisfy that need. The goal of the Marist is to give flesh to the Word, to make Christ come alive for people, to “translate the message of the Gospel in terms the world can understand”.
“Something new for our times….” It would be something new if in a world where so many people are searching to overcome the sense of alienation and separation, of emptiness and meaninglessness, there were a group of people who, because of Mary the first disciple of Jesus, took a stand for mercy, compassion, and communion of mind and heart. Then indeed the Word would become flesh, and small steps would be taken to make the world a place where people could experience the presence of the Spirit of Jesus.