Channeling Christ

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

IF we are to be authentic Christians, we have to know how to channel Christ to everyone in every situation. We have to know how to show Christ to everyone. We have to have his mind, his spirit. Our words and deeds, our reactions to things and our behaviour in general should be those of Christ first before they are ours. The ideal state for us is when anyone who sees or hears us sees and hears Christ.

And this is because our identity is fundamentally based on being God’s image and likeness. And Christ as the Son of God, the second person in the Blessed Trinity, is God’s own perfect image and likeness. Our humanity in effect is patterned after him.

And as God who became man, Christ is the savior of our humanity that is damaged by sin. Christ is therefore the pattern and savior of all mankind before we put in our personal and specific qualities, traits, peculiarities, etc., that would make each of us a unique individual.

It is this basic Christian pattern of humanity that makes us all children of God and brothers and sisters among ourselves regardless of our personal, racial and other various differences among ourselves. It is this basic Christian identity of all mankind that urges us to care and love one another. We have to see in each one of us the image of Christ, and together with that image, the whole Christ.

That is why our theologians have described each one of us to be “alter Christus” (another Christ). And Christ himself said that he is “the way, the truth and the life.” Our life can only be true life when it is lived in Christ who as God created us before it is procreated by our parents. Our life has God the Son as its pattern and Christ as its redeemer after our fall.

We have to learn to show Christ to everyone everywhere. And this is especially so among the clergy who are conformed to Christ as head of Christ’s body, the Church. That is why the clergy should always be mindful of who they are and who they represent. They have to be clear about their mission in life which should be the very mission Christ came into our world.

That is why we cannot overemphasize the need for the clergy to truly assume the identity of Christ. Whatever he says and does should be done in such a way that it can be clearly seen and understood that it is Christ as head of the Church, bent only on saving men, who is doing it. They have to always assume the role of ministers who work for Christ and not for themselves nor for anybody or anything else.

To put it bluntly, the spotlight should always be on Christ. It would be a disorder if the clergy would grab it, even if only partially, for themselves. Things should be such that after each priestly duty, the people who benefited from it should be thankful to Christ and should be made to feel Christ’s redemptive work on them.

The clergy should see to it that all his talents and other God-given endowments be fully at the service of the redemptive work of Christ. They should always have rectitude of intention and the constant awareness that it is Christ whom they are serving.

They have to be most careful with the frequent temptation to be proud, vain and feeling privileged and entitled because of their position. They have to learn how to give themselves fully to their ministry and yet know how to hide and disappear, so that it is only Christ whom people get to see and hear.

Their responsibility to personify Christ is graver than that of the laity. They have to be so identified and united with Christ in a living way that they can echo St. Paul’s words: “Be imitators of me as I am an imitator of Christ.” (1 Cor 11,1)