Viewed from the outside, there is a certain arrogance to the Christian position. This apparent arrogance lies in the assertion that in the great ocean of people, time and events, there is one person and one event which is the hinge on which everything else turns.
Isn't the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ just a faded memory, a relic from long ago which has little meaning for us today? Or, aren't the life and teachings of Moses, Mohammed, Buddha or Confucius of equal importance to that of the carpenter who was executed 2,000 years ago on a garbage dump? Isn't it presumptuous to say that Jesus is the centre of all history?
We have spoken of God the Father from whom all life, all creation comes. If God is the Father then why is there a need for the Son? And if there is God the Son, why does he become flesh at one, limited point in history? Indeed, this is what we believe — that the God who has created and sustained all history has also become one of the billions of people who participate in that history.
In this life, we will never be able to fully plumb the mystery of the Trinity, to fully know the why of the three persons. But we do know that the heart of God is love, a love that is lived out within the communion of three persons. And, through the revelation given to us by Jesus Christ, we know that we are made to share in that communion.
God is not a solitary God, but the Trinity. And this tells something of utmost importance about our own salvation. For if there were no distinction of persons in the Godhead then salvation could only consist of our being totally absorbed into God, thus losing our individuality. But salvation through Christ consists of entering into communion with God, becoming one with God while retaining our own personhood.
Jesus is crucial to salvation. During the Preparation of the Gifts at Mass, the priest says, "By the mystery of this water and wine may we come to share in the divinity of Christ, who humbled himself to share in our humanity."
Jesus is the one mediator between God and humanity who, by becoming human, paved the way for us to share in divine life. Jesus told the apostle Thomas, "No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6).
Before Jesus' death and resurrection, this was not possible. One could live a good life and follow God's laws. Maybe after such a life, one could go to a happy hunting ground. But no one, without Jesus, could share in divine life.
St. Paul writes that "whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their minds; but when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed" (2 Corinthians 3:15-16). God shines "in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2 Corinthians 4:6).
Christians should never attempt to impose faith on others. But we have an obligation to make others aware of the new life that can be gained through Christ. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says, "The transmission of the Christian faith consists primarily in proclaiming Jesus Christ in order to lead others to faith in him. From the beginning, the first disciples burned with the desire to proclaim Christ" (no. 425).
So must we. We must come to know this person who is the centre of human history. Jesus Christ is not a dusty memory, but a living reality. We must hear his story, make it our own and share it with others. This is the only real hope for ourselves and our only real hope for the world.
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