One of the most influential movements in the Church today is centered on St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body (TOB), of whose teachings Christopher West is the preeminent translator for a popular audience. In Word Made Flesh: A Companion to the Sunday Readings (Cycle C), Dr. Christopher West offers reflections on an entire liturgical cycle of Sunday Mass readings through the lens of TOB, providing a fresh way to process and act on the Good News by orienting our desires for union with God with our understanding of ourselves and our relationships with others.
St. John Paul II’s TOB is most often framed as an extended catechesis on human sexuality and married love. It is that, to be sure, but, as John Paul II observed, what we learn in the TOB “concerns the whole Bible” and the “whole mission of Christ.” Wearing John Paul II’s “spousal lenses,” West takes us on a tour of the Sunday readings throughout the liturgical year and opens their hidden meaning, allowing God’s word to take flesh in our own lives.
In Word Made Flesh, West offers distinctive reflections on all 52 Sunday readings from the first Sunday of Advent through Christ the King Sunday. Some weeks he focuses primarily on the Gospel, while in others he emphasizes a specific passage or verse from one of the other readings. The reflections naturally and deeply connect with the human experience of living with body and soul in the world while also contemplating the nature of the glorified body in the eternal kingdom to come.
The material in Word Made Flesh can be used as a weekly devotional, homilies or as a preparation for Sunday Mass.
“The more familiar we become with St. John Paul II’s ‘Theology of the Body,’ the more we will benefit from what is arguably his greatest contribution to Catholic life and thought. Christopher West’s Word Made Flesh series will help the homilist, as well as the person in the pew, to integrate John Paul’s nuptial vision with the Scriptures proclaimed at Mass.”
— Most Rev. Michael J. Sheridan, Diocese of Colorado Springs