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“The word of the Lord is something alive and active…”
The prophet Isaiah in today’s first reading emphasizes the intimate alliance of creation and the divine providential Word. How do we reconcile creation with the power of God’s creative Word? To find the answer to this question, we must explore the mystery of the Word a little more.
The beginning of St. John’s gospel is famously a re-presentation of the opening of Genesis, where the mystery of God’s Word is explored further, and is understood as the manifestation of God’s creative love: “in the beginning was the Word, and the word was with God and the Word was God” (Jn. 1:1). The whole creation is made through the divine Word, as the sign of God’s love, a sign that takes on even deeper meaning when that Word becomes flesh in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and see the beauty of God’s love face-to-face in the person of Jesus Christ.
God’s Word is powerful and bound up with creation. The words people speak become emanations of themselves, of their own personalities. Once spoken, they can go out into the world to do both good and evil. God’s Word, once spoken, is there for us to hear, and if we listen, and take it into ourselves, it can become something powerful and transforming. Thus, the letter to the Hebrews advises: “the word of the Lord is something alive and active: it cuts more incisively than any two-edged sword: it can seek out the place where soul is divided from the spirit or joints from marrow…” (Heb. 4:12)
Jesus’ famous Parable of the Sower combines the mysteries of creation and the Word in the context of God’s purposes. The Word is spoken, but human nature is free to accept or reject it. Futility and evil prevents God’s purposes from coming to completion. Only those who open their ears and hearts to the indwelling God’s Word can experience its mysterious power through the Spirit. Here it can take root and harness the richness of its creative purpose. The Word then is free to amplify and change us as instruments and signs of God’s purposes. To hear and respond to the Word who is Jesus is “to be converted and healed” by him, as pledges of universal liberation for the freedom and glory of the children of God.