“From his fullness, you have received grace in place of grace” (Jn 1:16). This reality of receiving from God’s fullness is repeated in other parts of today’s liturgy. In 1 Jn 2: 19, we are told that we “ have the anointing that comes from the Holy One, and have all received the knowledge.” John in this first letter is talking about the end times, a time when antichrists surface in many parts of the world. “Children,” John says, “it is the last hour; and just as you heard that the antichrist was coming, so now many antichrists have appeared. Thus we know this is the last hour.” We know what is and is not of God—that knowledge is given us by the Holy Spirit, the “Holy Anointing” we received when we were born again through the sacrament of baptism and when we also received the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the sacrament of Confirmation. In today’s Gospel, John 1: 1-18, the blessings announced in 1 Jn 2: 19 and Jn 1:16 are spoken of in the following ways: “…[T]o those who did accept him [Jesus] he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision but of God.”
How conscious am I of having received of God’s fullness or that the people I live and pray with at every liturgy, those I encounter throughout the day, have also received “grace in place of grace”? Would I treat people differently if I were aware that they, like myself, have been given “power to become children of God”?
Reflecting on John 1:16, 1 John 2:19, and John 1: 1-18, I am not surprised that the angels present at the birth of Jesus, and joining us at every Catholic Mass, shout God’s praises both in the Gloria and in the Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of hosts, blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. What a privilege during Mass to join the angels and saints praising God for sharing His fullness with us.