Christ, perfect God, perfect man

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

“AMEN, amen, I say to you, the Son cannot do anything on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for what he does, the Son will do also. For the Father loves the Son and shows him everything that he himself does, and he will show him greater works than these, so that you may be amazed.” (Jn 5,19-20)

With these words, Christ is affirming that Christ is God just as the Father to whom he is referring in those words is God. We should have no doubt about the divinity of Christ, falling into some heresy that would consider Christ otherwise.

But not only is Christ God. He is also man who acts as a perfect mediator between God and man. He is the perfect bridge between God and man, because he is both God and man, “perfectus Deus, perfectus homo.” This truth of our faith can somehow be gleaned from the following words of his:

“Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes in the one who sent me has eternal life and will not come to condemnation, but has passed from death to life.” (Jn 5,23-24)

All these truths of our faith simply tell us that we are truly children of God, made in his image and likeness, meant to share his very own life. In short, how God is should also be how we ought to be. It’s a most basic truth about ourselves that we should never forget or take for granted. On that truth depend all the other things in our life.

The necessary corollary to this truth is that we should try our best, with God’s grace, of course, to be like Christ who offers us precisely to be “the truth, the way and the life.” The way to be like God is to identify ourselves as perfectly as possible with Christ. We have to try our best to assume the very identity of Christ.

There’s no doubt about it. We are meant to assume the identity of Christ, because he is the pattern of our humanity and the savior of our damaged humanity. We can only be as we ought to be when we assume Christ’s identity. That is to say, when Christ and us become one.

A fantasy? A gratuitous exaggeration? Would we not fall into some grave presumption here or some psychological disorder? Such reactions, of course, are understandable. As they say, we are only human (sapagkat kami’y tao lamang), and so we can never aspire to be like Christ, much less, to be Christ himself.

But Christ himself said so in so many words. “He who hears you hears me,” he said, “and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who reject me rejects him who sent me.” (Lk 10,16) Though spoken directly to his apostles, such words can also be addressed to all of us.

More than that, his ardent prayer before he entered into his passion and death was that we be one with him and he is one with his Father. “…that all of them may be one, as you, Father, are in me, and I am in you. May they also be in us…that they may be one as we are one, I in them and you in me, so that they may be brought to complete unity…” (Jn 17,21.23)

We need to process this tremendous truth of our faith slowly.