‘Alter Christus’ we are PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 16 March 2016 14:47

REFLECTION

BY FR. ROY CIMAGALA

“Whoever is not with me is against me. Whoever does not gather with me scatters.” (Lk 11,23) With these words of Christ, it’s very clear that we are supposed to be so united with Christ, so identified with him, that he and us can be considered simply as one.

We need to process this truth of our faith about ourselves very slowly, because it will obviously astound us to think that we are supposed to be one with Christ. Who, me, one with Christ? We most likely would be tempted to say, tell it to the Marines!

But that’s just the naked truth about us, whether we like or not.  We cannot be any other if we just bother also to know why it is so. An expression that is relevant to this matter is ‘alter Christus,’ another Christ. And it’s worthwhile to know what it is all about.

We are supposed to be ‘alter Christus,’ the goal and ideal that is meant for us, though we need also to do our part, free beings as are, to achieve that status. God, our Creator and Father, wants us to be that way, though he does not impose it on us without our consent that should also be shown with deeds and not just with intentions or words.

We are supposed to be ‘alter Christus’ simply because, if we have been created in the image and likeness of God, and Christ is the Son of God who is the perfect image and likeness that God has of himself, then we can only conclude that we have to be like Christ.

In other words, Christ as the Son of God is the pattern of our humanity. If we want to know who we really are, how we ought to be, all we have to do is to look at Christ and try our best, with God’s grace, to identify ourselves with him.

More than that, because of our sin that defaced the original state in which we, in Adam and Eve, were created, Christ is the Son of God who became man to save us. The immediate conclusion we can derive from this truth of our faith is that for us to know how to handle our sinfulness, again all we have to do is to look at Christ and try our best, with God’s grace, to identify ourselves with him.

That identification with Christ as our Redeemer cannot but involve the acceptance of the cross through which our salvation is achieved. We have to know therefore the full meaning of the cross in our life, and embrace and die on it the way Christ embraced and died on it.

This is what is meant to be ‘alter Christus,’ an ideal that can be reached because insofar as God is concerned, everything is already given for us to be able to be so. Things now just depend on us on whether we would like to be ‘alter Christus’ or not.

All the means are made available. We have the sources of divine revelation that show us the truth about ourselves. We have the word of God. We have the Church and the sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist.

We just have to make the necessary adjustments in the way we think, in the way we identify ourselves. It would not be presumptuous, even given our limitations and woundedness, to start and keep thinking that “I am another Christ, ‘alter Christus.’” We just have to try our best, with God’s grace to think and act like Christ.

We have to have the very sentiments of Christ who haseverything that is good and proper to us. When he said, “Whoever is not with me is against me, whoever does not gather with me scatters, it is quite clear that for us to be ‘alter Christus’ is a necessity.

It’s not something optional, though it has to be chosen freely.

With Christ we would have the proper understanding of things. We would have a universal outlook, and we can take on anything that can happen to us, whether good or bad, because Christ himself has assumed everything human including to be like sin even if he himself has not committed any sin. “He (God) made him (Christ) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Cor 5,21)

We have to be wary when we rely simply on our common sense, or some powerful philosophy or ideology, because no matter how brilliant these are, they cannot cope with everything that is possible in a man’s life. Only Christ can!