When the Word Speaks

Editor’s note: This is the first post in a series commenting on the first words of Christ as presented in the Gospels.

The words of Christ are powerful. In the beginning, God spoke, and through his Word, the heavens and earth were made. As the Incarnate Word, Christ speaks with this same power. His word has power to teach, amazing his hearers, “for his word was with authority” (Lk 4:32). His word has power to heal, to cast out demons, to forgive sins, and to raise from the dead. His word has power to change bread and wine into his flesh and blood. The list goes on.

In response to the power of Christ’s words, we echo the centurion at every Mass: “but only say the word, and my soul shall be healed” (cf. Mt 8:8). Like Peter, we can exclaim: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (Jn 6:68). And above all, like Mary, we seek to keep these words in our hearts, pondering them in contemplation (Lk 2:19, 51).

Christians have found varied ways of keeping and pondering Christ’s words. In Passiontide, Catholics traditionally meditate on the Seven Last Words of Christ, those saving words that he spoke upon the Cross. As we conclude Christmastide, Dominicana presents a meditation on the First Words of Christ. Beginning tomorrow and running through next Friday, we’ll ponder Christ’s first words recorded in the Gospels and meditate on how they help reveal his identity.

The Christmas carol asks: “What child is this?” For us Christian pilgrims, this ought to be our constant meditation. Who is this Jesus, fully divine and fully man? Who is this healer that loved us sinners unto death? Who is this Crucified One who rose again? Who is this Ascended One who will return? And who is this unseen Lover of my heart?

Needless to say, these questions touch upon inexhaustible mysteries beyond the scope of a few blog posts. Nevertheless, by this series of posts, we hope to offer a taste of the identity of Jesus Christ, so that these meditations may stir our minds to know Christ more and enflame our hearts to love him more.

We entrust this series to Mary and Joseph. They enjoyed the privileged knowledge of Christ’s hidden years. They heard the Christ-toddler’s first words. They watched his personality unfold as he matured. And they held these mysteries in their loving hearts.

Mary and Joseph, lead us to your son, Jesus Christ.

Image: Henry Ossawa Tanner, Christ And His Mother Studying The Scriptures

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Br. Joseph Martin Hagan graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2009. The following year, he spent trekking around Ireland, serving with N.E.T. Ministries. Then, he returned to Notre Dame's Echo program and completed an M.A. in theology, while serving in the Diocese of Wilmington, DE. Br. Joseph entered the Order of Preachers in 2012. On DominicanFriars.org