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Giving and receiving Christ

September 16, 2020

REMEMBER Christ telling his disciples, “He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me.” (Mt 10,40) These words clearly show that we are meant to be so identified with Christ that anyone who receives us receives Christ.

In another gospel, Christ said something similar also. “He who hears you hears me. He who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.” (Lk 10,16) These words tell us that there has to be some kind of organic continuity between Christ and us.

Tremendous words, indeed, pointing to a tremendous reality about ourselves! And these words are meant not only for the original apostles or for a few people. They are meant for all of us, since we are supposed to be patterned after Christ, the Son of God who is the perfect image God has of his own self.

Since we have been created in God’s image and likeness, we can say that we are patterned after Christ. We are supposed to be like Christ, or as some theologians have described it, we are supposed to be “alter Christus,” (another Christ).

We can never overemphasize our need to be so identified with Christ that we really have to do everything to acquire the very mind and spirit of Christ which are where our identification with Christ takes place. In fact, we are meant to have the very sentiments of Christ as we face all the possible situations of our life.

The identification with Christ should be such that whatever we think, say and do, it is always Christ that we perceive, understand, follow and live. It is his goodness, wisdom, mercy, charity, compassion, etc. that should guide the way we understand and react to things. The way he reacted to things should also be the way we react to them.

No matter how mundane and technical the things are that we get involved in, it should always be Christ that we give or receive. Not in the sense of the physical Christ, of course, but rather in his mind and spirit. This way, we live out what Christ told his first disciples: “He who receives you receives me…”

This, of course, will require a lot of discipline on our part, since we always and strongly tend to be guided only by our human estimation of things. We get contented with just staying in that level. And often as a consequence, we find ourselves unable to handle our differences and conflicts, and the many difficulties and mysteries in our life. We find it difficult, if not impossible, to love everyone as we should.

Little by little, but in a lifelong and continuous way, we have to know more about Christ, as he presents himself in the gospels, in the teachings of the Church, in the sacraments, and in the many other acts of piety. We should pursue this path until we can say with St. Paul that we already have the mind of Christ. (cfr. 1 Cor 2,16) We have to remember that we can never know him enough, no matter how much we study him.

Anyway, we should not worry too much since Christ himself will take care of everything in the end. He will be the one to finish and perfect everything. Ours is simply to try to be with him. We may still commit some mistakes along the way. But if committed in good faith, it will be Christ who will correct them.

We have to overcome the usual awkwardness we feel when we take this truth of our faith seriously and start to act on it. If we simply persist with faith and humility, time will surely come when this identification with Christ becomes second nature to us.

And whatever we think, say and do, whatever we give or receive, it is always Christ who is presented and perceived, followed and lived!