Jesus’ question, “Who do you say I am?” still begs an answer from the believers of our time. We do not all have the same image of Jesus. And this is not only because of the inexhaustible character of his personality, but, above all, because each one of us elaborates our image of Jesus based on our interests and concerns, conditioned by our personal psychology and society to which we belong, and marked by the religious formation we have received.
Nevertheless, the image of Christ that each of us may have is of decisive importance for our life, since it conditions our way of understanding and living the faith. An impoverished, unilateral, partial or false image of Jesus will lead us to an impoverished, unilateral, partial or false experience of faith. Hence the importance of avoiding possible deformations of our vision of Jesus and of purifying our adherence to him.
On the other hand, it is pure illusion to think that one believes in Jesus Christ because one “believes” in a dogma or because one is willing to believe “in what Holy Mother Church believes”. In reality, every believer believes in what he believes, that is to say, in what he personally discovers in his following of Jesus Christ, even if, naturally, he does so within the Christian community.
Unfortunately, there are quite a few Christians who understand and live their religion in such a way that they will probably never be able to have a somewhat vivid experience of what it is to personally encounter Christ. Already at a very early stage of their lives they had a childish idea of Jesus, when perhaps they had not yet thought clearly enough about the issues and questions that Christ can answer. Later on, they have not rethought their faith in Jesus Christ, either because they consider it something trivial and without any importance for their lives, or because they do not dare to examine it seriously and rigorously, or because they are content to keep it in an indifferent and apathetic way, without any echo in their being.
Unfortunately, they do not suspect what Jesus could be for them. Marcel Légaut wrote this harsh but perhaps very real sentence: “These Christians are ignorant of who Jesus is and are condemned by their own religion never to discover him”.
José Antonio Pagola