1. Jesus: He who Lives
· Question: Is Christ whom the Church proclaims the same “historical Jesus?” Is the Christ of our faith different from the real Jesus of history?
· 18th century Rationalists: Christ of the Christian dogma is a construction of the Church. Christianity did not begin with the history of Jesus, but with the preaching of the disciples after Easter.
· Present biblical scholarship: favors historical reliability of the Gospels. There is basic continuity between Jesus of history and the Christ proclaimed by the primitive Church’s kerygma. Christian faith has its beginning in the historical Jesus.
· Conclusion: The Christ of faith is the Jesus of history whose Incarnation, death, and resurrection are seen in their full importance for salvation. There is continuity between the Jesus transmitted to us by the NT and the Christ proclaimed by the Church’s tradition.
2. Jesus, the One Savior of the World
· God’s will to save all humanity has been manifested and accomplished in a unique and definitive way in the mystery of Jesus and his ecclesial community.
· Jesus is the sole source that sustains every appeal for and grant of salvation present even outside Christianity. He is the sole, constitutive mediator of salvation for the whole of humankind. he is not one of the many mediators of salvation, but the only and final mediator, the source of every other participated mediations.
3. All you peoples, Open your doors to Christ (RMi, 3)
· Vat. II: Jesus is the sole, universal savior of the whole humankind. Any faith, grace and salvation outside Christianity would draw their saving value substantially from the event of Jesus’ death and resurrection (LG 16).
· The grace of Christ is the cause and substance of the salvation of all humankind, both inside and outside the Church. Jesus is the “only savior” of all humankind. The eternal Word cannot be separated from Jesus Christ. The object of mission “ad gentes” is not mere socio-economic well-being. The content of the missionary message is the very person of Jesus Christ.
4. The Will to Save all Men: God’s Secret Ways
· In God’s plan, no one is deprived of the chance to be saved (1 Tim 2:4). The event of Christ is efficacious for the salvation not only of Christians, but for the whole of humanity without any discrimination.
· Vat. II suggests that those who do not know Christ and live in other religious contexts are offered salvation by mysterious paths that are known only to God. God’s mysterious ways are actually obedience to one’s conscience, the doing of good and the avoidance of evil, adherence to the truth, and consistence between faith and life.
5. Jesus, the “Sole Mediator” between God and Humanity
· God’s will to save all people is accomplished by means of the mystery of Jesus’ Passover. Humankind’s only way to salvation is the Christ event.
· All of humanity is thus called to salvation in Christ, who died and rose again for all.
The Mystery of Christ in Catholic “Popular Piety”
· “Popular piety” or “popular religiosity” is the true environment of the Church’s catechesis and pastoral ministry. Often it is rich in symbols and living experiences. They are “distinctive expressions of the search for God and of faith” (EN, 48).The Puebla Document describes popular piety as “religion of the people…, an expression of the Catholic faith, a popular Catholicism.” (Puebla, 444).
· Popular piety is rich in values; it has the sense of the sacred; it manifests a thirst for God. It is imbued with the awareness of sin and the necessity of expiation; it celebrates Christ in the mystery of his Incarnation (Christmas, Santo Nino), in his crucifixion (Santo Entierro), in the Eucharist, and in devotion to his Sacred Heart. It expresses love for Mary, whom it venerates as the immaculate Mother of God and of men. It manifests faith in total language (song, images, gestures, color, dance). It overcomes cold rationalisms by setting faith in the context of times (feasts) and in places (shrines).
· But there are limits and dangers of popular piety, especially when it is ignored and neglected by evangelization and catechesis. It becomes superstition, magic, fatalism, idolatry of power, fetishism, and ritualism. Other deformations are: static archaism, misinformation, ignorance, syncretistic reinterpretation, reduction of faith to a pure contract in one’s relation to God, exaggerated regard for the cult of the saints (EN, 48).
· The menaces to popular piety also come from secularism, which is spread by mass media, by consumerism, by the sects, by ideological, economic, and social manipulation, by secularizing political messianisms, by uprooting, and by urban proletarianization due to internal and foreign migrations (Puebla, 456). Hence the urgency of purification, of ongoing rectification, but above all of a continual process of education of popular piety (Puebla, 457).
Christ “in the Filipino Culture”
· There are various initiatives of inculturation in the world today. In the Philippines, there are proposals to bring forward and valorize the Christ of popular piety: the “Santo Nino,” and the “Santo Entierro.”
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