Only in Christ and through Christ does the theme God become truly concrete: Christ is Emmanuel, the God-with-us—the concretisation of the ‘I am,’ the response to Deism.

Today, the temptation is great to diminish Jesus Christ, the Son of God, into a merely historical Jesus, into a pure man. One does not necessarily deny the divinity of Jesus, but by using certain methods one distils from the Bible a Jesus to our size, a Jesus possible and comprehensible within the parameters of our historiography.

But this ‘historical Jesus’ is an artefact, the image of his authors rather than the image of the living God12. The Christ of faith is not a myth; the so-called ‘historical Jesus’ is a mythological figure, self-invented by various interpreters. The 200 years of history of the ‘historical Jesus’ faithfully reflect the history of philosophies and ideologies of this period.

(Here)… I would only like to briefly mention (an important aspect of the proclamation of the Saviour)… is the Sequela of Christ—Christ offers himself as the path of my life. Sequela of Christ does not mean: imitating the man Jesus. This type of attempt would necessarily fail—it would be an anachronism.

The Sequela of Christ has a much higher goal: to be assimilated into Christ, that is to attain union with God. Such a word might sound strange to the ears of modern man. But, in truth, we all thirst for the infinite: for an infinite freedom, for happiness without limits.

The entire history of revolutions during the last two centuries can only be explained this way. Drugs can only be explained this way. Man is not satisfied with solutions beneath the level of divinisation. But all the roads offered by the ‘serpent’13, that is to say, by mundane knowledge, fail.  The only path is communion with Christ, achieved in sacramental life.

The Sequela of Christ is not a question of morality, but a ‘mysteric’ theme—an ensemble of divine action and our response. Thus, in the theme on the sequela we find the presence of the other centre of Christology, which I wished to mention: the Paschal Mystery—the cross and the Resurrection. In the reconstruction of the ‘historical Jesus,’ usually the theme of the cross is without meaning.

  • In a bourgeois interpretation it becomes an incident per se evitable, without theological value;
  • in a revolutionary interpretation it becomes the heroic death of a rebel.

 

The truth is quite different. The cross belongs to the divine mystery—it is the expression of His love to the end14. The Sequela of Christ is participation in the cross, uniting oneself to his love, to the transformation of our life, which becomes the birth of the new man, created according to God15. Whoever omits the cross, omits the essence of Christianity.16

 

11 Pope Benedict XVI: Address to Catechists and Religion Teachers, Jubilee of Catechists, 12 December 2000.
12 Cf.2 Corinthians 4:4ff; Colossians 1:15
13 Genesis 3:5
14 John 13:1
15 Cf. Ephesians 4:24
16 Cf. 1 Corinthians 2:2

This article can be found in Mirror 0415.