NEW CHRISTIAN IDENTITY
To be a Christian, what’s most decisive isn’t what a person believes, but what relationship one has with Jesus. Beliefs generally don’t change our life. Someone could believe that God exists, that Jesus has risen and many other such things, but not be a good Christian. It’s the adhesion to Jesus and contact with him that can transform us.
In the Gospels you can read a scene that traditionally has come to be called the «transfiguration» of Jesus. It’s no longer possible to reconstruct the historic experience that originated this story. We only know that it was a very dearly loved text among the first Christians, since among other things, it encouraged them to believe only in Jesus.
The scene is situated on a «high mountain». Jesus is accompanied by two legendary persons from Jewish history: Moses, representing the Law, and Elijah, the most beloved prophet in Galilee. Only Jesus appears with his face transfigured. From within a cloud is heard a voice; «This is my beloved son. Listen to him».
What’s important isn’t believing in Moses or Elijah, but listening to Jesus and hearing his voice, that of the beloved Son. What’s decisive isn’t believing in tradition or institutions but centering our life in Jesus. To live a conscious relationship that’s more and more committed to Jesus Christ. Only then can one hear his voice in the midst of life, in the Christian tradition, and in the Church.
Only this growing communion with Jesus goes about transforming our identity and our criteria, healing our way of seeing life, freeing us from slaveries, making our gospel responsibility grow.
From Jesus we can live differently. Now people aren’t simply attractive or disagreeable, interesting or uninteresting. Problems aren’t what we’re all about. The world isn’t a field of battle where everyone defends self as can. The suffering of the most defenseless begins to pain us. We dare to work for a world just a little more human. We can look more like Jesus.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf