Christians understand Jesus Christ as the answer and solution to our questions and problems. And He is that – the Way, the Truth and the Life for every human person.
But Pope Paul VI once made a telling observation: “Christ’s coming into the world creates for us the problem and duty of knowing Him” (General Audience, 12/28/66). In fact, the Pope said that knowing Christ is our “first duty”…that “we must set out to seek Christ…to study whatever we can know about Him.” He then directs our attention to the Gospel.
Thirty years later, John Paul II spoke about the Gospel of Life as consisting “in the proclamation of the very person of Jesus”, and that “Through the words, the actions and the very person of Jesus, man is given the possibility of ‘knowing’ the complete truth concerning the value of human life” (Evangelium Vitae, #29).
Here we are, in the midst of a ‘culture of death’ and we can see why Christ’s coming into the world is a sort of “problem”…. He is the fullness of Life and a champion of human rights and human life both – hence a champion of the human right to life! This message is not welcome in a ‘culture of death’. Christ’s message is part of who He is. So, in knowing Jesus Christ we come to know the fullness of human life and, as John Paul II says, we come to know “the complete truth concerning” human life.
For Christians, Christ is a problem if we love mammon more than God (Lk 16:13) or if we neglect prayer and the spiritual truths about life. It does seem to be a daily challenge to put Christ first in our lives. There is also a tendency for us all to superficially embrace our faith in Christ and falter in the demands of our faith.
Paul VI speaks of a spirit in the world promoting “systematic incertitude” and “systematic doubt and criticism”. This is precisely the anti-faith pseudo tolerance that is widespread today, which ‘tolerates’ the killing of unborn children while musing on the uncertainties of life and meaning in life. In Christ we find a great Truth, a Truth with certainty about the value of human life, a Truth that is compelling and problem-solving by nature. Christ’s Church has the duty to know Christ and His Truth, and is committed to hold on to this rock-solid Truth.
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