Redemptoris Missio 6: The Unity of the Mystery of Christ

More on the witness of Scripture:

To introduce any sort of separation between the Word and Jesus Christ is contrary to the Christian faith. St. John clearly states that the Word, who “was in the beginning with God,” is the very one who “became flesh” (Jn 1:2, 14). Jesus is the Incarnate Word-a single and indivisible person. One cannot separate Jesus from the Christ or speak of a “Jesus of history” who would differ from the “Christ of faith.” The Church acknowledges and confesses Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mt 16:16): Christ is none other than Jesus of Nazareth: he is the Word of God made man for the salvation of all. In Christ “the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” (Col 2:9) and “from his fullness have we all received” (Jn 1:16). The “only Son, who is the bosom of the Father” (Jn 1:18) is “the beloved Son, in whom we have redemption…. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his Cross” (Col 1:13-14, 19-20). It is precisely this uniqueness of Christ which gives him an absolute and universal significance, whereby, while belonging to history, he remains history’s center and goal:(Cf. Gaudium et Spes, 2) “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end” (Rv 22:13).

Reading here and more deeply through his public ministry, there is no doubt Jesus presented a new and upside-down perspective on the meaning of God. He willingly turned expectations upside-down, mainly as he identified with people who were not rich, powerful, or even part of a religious elite. In its best times, the Church been attractive to people because the rich could not buy or bribe their way in, and the poor experienced the grace and blessing of divine favor.

The witness of Vatican II:

Thus, although it is legitimate and helpful to consider the various aspects of the mystery of Christ, we must never lose sight of its unity. In the process of discovering and appreciating the manifold gifts-especially the spiritual treasures-that God has bestowed on every people, we cannot separate those gifts from Jesus Christ, who is at the center of God’s plan of salvation. Just as “by his incarnation the Son of God united himself in some sense with every human being,” so too “we are obliged to hold that the Holy Spirit offers everyone the possibility of sharing in the Paschal Mystery in a manner known to God.”(Gaudium et Spes, 22) God’s plan is “to unite all things in Christ, things in heaven and things on earth” (Eph 1:10).

This document is available online here and is © Copyright – Libreria Editrice Vaticana


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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