Tuesday, December 7, 2010

What a Christian Is?

For the sake of a friend I repost my first ever blogpost, originally written January 30, 2008.

"Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction." Deus Caritas Est 1

There is this idea in the world today that Christianity, Catholicism in particular, is no different than every other religion (to each his own). That is not true. In fact, it is a lie. Pope Benedict shows us in the aforementioned quote why. You can't reduce Christianity to an ethical choice. Christianity is not solely an ethical system wherein the Ten Commmandments set up guidelines and boundaries to live our lives. It is not a group of people who casuistically tell if you've sinned, and, therefore, need redemption. Although some of these things have their part, they are not the core of Christianity.

Christianity is about Christ. It says so in it namesake. As St. Paul says, "We preach Jesus Christ, and him crucified." We are not Ten Commandmentians. We are Christians. Our focus, our meaning, our lives are centered on the person of Christ and the decisive event of the Paschal Mystery, His death and resurrection.

There's an interesting point here. In the quest for the "historical Jesus" there has been this drive to find out who Jesus really was. Was he just a liberal Jew stirring up things in an already chaotic time in history? Was he a just a rabbi with followers who got some crazy ideas that he rose from the dead after he was crucified for plotting an uprising? Luke Timothy Johnson, a Catholic Scripture scholar, wished to put his two-sense into this empirically driven quest. He bases his claims on the New Testament just as the rest of the scholars did. He said that these scholars tended to separate the gospels as individual entities without any correlation except Luke and Matthew using Mark as a source. Johnson, however, finds a continuous thread throughout not only the gospels but even many of the Pauline epistles. In all of them there is a "story of Jesus" as he calls it. "It expresses the meaning of Jesus' ministry in terms of its ending: Jesus is the suffering servant whose death is a radical act of obedience toward God and expression of loving care for his followers," (LTJ The Real Jesus 165-6). In other words, the common thread among the Synoptic Gospels, the Gospel of John, the Pauline and Petrine letters is Jesus Christ, and him crucified. Now I'll return to the previous train of thought

The person of Jesus and the event of the Paschal Mystery opens new horizons of eternal life; opens the new horizon of union with the Creator, opens the new horizon of communion.

Finally, Christ gives decisive direction to our lives. No longer are we nomadic wanders looking for the next unsatisfying meal. No longer are we lost in the jungle of uncertainty and lies. No longer are we in fear of the future. Christ satisfies, certifies, and is the future of our very beings.

3 comments:

Rae said...

Thank you so much for reposting this! I especially loved the last paragraph. It is good for me to think of the contrast of how my life could be spiritually.

Colonel4God said...

Your welcome. It was good for to look back and see what I had written nearly three years ago. I was moved by that last paragraph as well.

Fides Quarens Intellectum said...

That is an awesome book. Really motivated me to get serious about studying Scripture, despite his lackluster concluding section where he gets some pretty weak ideas about what a Church is.