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Monday, March 4, 2013

0267: The Term “Logos” in the Magisterium of Pope Benedict XVI - Part (IV)

Entry 0267: The Term “Logos” in the Magisterium of Pope Benedict XVI - Part (IV)  

In the book Jesus of Nazareth (trans. Philip J. Whitmore, New York: Image, 2012), Pope Benedict XVI writes as Joseph Ratzinger. Here is a segment of Ratzinger’s reflection on the Logos.

Speaking about the genealogy of Jesus in Luke’s Gospel, Joseph Ratzinger affirms that “Luke, in tracing the line  back to Adam, wants to show that humanity starts afresh in Jesus. The genealogy expresses a promise that concerns the whole of humanity.” 

“Jesus,” Ratzinger continues, “takes upon himself the whole of humanity, the whole history of man, and he gives it a decisive re-orientation toward a new manner of human existence.” 

“John the evangelist, who repeatedly raises the question of Jesus' provenance, does not present a genealogy at the beginning of his Gospel, but in the Prologue he grandly and emphatically proposes an answer to that question. At the same time he expands his answer to the question into a definition of Christian life: on the basis of Jesus' provenance he sheds light upon the identity of his followers.

“'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God ... and the Word became flesh and dwelt (pitched his tent) among us' (Jn 1:1-14). The man Jesus is the dwelling-place of the Word, the eternal divine Word, in this world.

“Jesus' 'flesh,' his human existence, is the 'dwelling' or 'tent' of the Word: the reference to the sacred tent of Israel in the wilderness is unmistakable. Jesus is, so to speak, the tent of meeting--He is the reality for which the tent and the later Temple could only serve as signs.

“Jesus' origin, his provenance, is the true 'beginning'--the primordial source from which all things come, the 'light' that makes the world into the cosmos. He comes from God. He is God.

“This 'beginning' that has come to us opens up--as a beginning--a new manner of human existence. 'For to all who received Him, who believed in His name, He gave power to become children of God; who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God' (Jn 1:12-13).

“The authentic text of the Gospel speaks quite clearly here of those who believe in Christ's name and who receive a new origin through that name. Yet the connection with the confession of Jesus' birth from the Virgin Mary is undeniably present: those who believe in Jesus enter through faith into Jesus' unique new origin, and they receive this origin as their own.

“In and of themselves, all these believers are initially 'born of blood and of the will of man.' But their faith gives them a new birth: they enter into the origin of Jesus Christ, which now becomes their own origin. From Christ, through faith in him, they are now born of God.

“So John has recapitulated the deepest meaning of the genealogies, and moreover he has taught us to understand them as an interpretation of our own origin, our true 'genealogy.'

“Just as the genealogies break off at the end, because Jesus was not begotten by Joseph, but was truly born of the Holy Spirit from the Virgin Mary, so it can now be said of us that our true 'genealogy' is faith in Jesus, who gives us a new origin, who brings us to birth 'from God'”( pp. 10-13).