KNOWING AND DEEPENING OUR CATHOLIC FAITH
To deepen our faith let us learn more from
the teaching of the Church contained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC). We learnt about the Church in the plan of Salvation, Who Jesus is:
- What is the meaning of the name “Jesus”? (CCC 430-435,452)
Given by the angel at the time of the Annunciation, the name “Jesus” means “God saves”. The name expresses his identity and his mission “because he will save his people from their sins” (Matt 1:21) Peter proclaimed that “there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we can be saved” (Act4:12)
- Why is Jesus called “Christ”? (CCC 436-440, 453)
“Christ” in Greek, means “Messiah” in Hebrew, means “the anointed one”. Jesus is the Christ because he is consecrated by God and anointed by the Holy Spirit for his redeeming mission. He is Messiah awaited by Israel, sent into the world by the Father, Jesus accepted the title of Messiah but, he made the meaning of the term clear: “come down from heaven” (John3:13) crucified and then risen, he is the Suffering Servant “who gives life as a ransom to many” (Matt20:28). From the name, comes our name of Christian.
- In what sense is Jesus the only Begotten Son of God? (CCC 441-445, 4540)
Jesus is the Son of God in a unique and perfect way. At his Baptism and Transfiguration, the voice of the Father designated Jesus as his “beloved Son”. In presenting himself as the Son who “knows the Father” (Matt1:27), Jesus affirmed his singular and eternal relationship with God his Father. He is “the only Begotten Son of God” (1 John 4:9), the second person of the Blessed Trinity. He is the central figure preaching. The Apostle saw “his glory as the only Begotten son of the Father” (John1:14)
- What is the meaning of the title “Lord”? (CCC 446-451,455)
In the Bible this title regularly designates God as Sovereign. Jesus ascribed this title to himself and reveal his divine sovereignty by his power over nature, over demons, over sin and over death, above all by his own Resurrection. The first Christian creed proclaimed that the power, the honour, and the glory due to God the Father also belong to Jesus: God “has given him the name which is above every other name” (Philippians 2:9). He is the Lord of the World and of history, the only One to whom we must completely submit our personal freedom.
- Why did the Son of God become man? (CCC 456-460)
For us men and for our salvation, the Son of God became incarnate in the womb of the Virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit. He did so to reconcile us with God, to have us learn of God’s infinite love, to be our model of holiness and make us “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4)
- What does the word “Incarnation” means? (CCC 461-463, 455)
The church calls the mystery of the wonderful union of the divine and human natures in the one divine Person of the word the “Incarnation”. To bring about salvation the Son of God was made “flesh” (John 1:14) and became truly man. Faith in the Incarnation is a distinctive sign of the Christ faith.
- In what way is Jesus Christ true God and true man? (CCC 464-467, 469)
Jesus is inseparably true God and true man in the unity of his divine Person. As the son of God, who is “begotten”, not made, consubstantial with the Father, “he was true man our brother, without ceasing to be God, our Lord.
- What does the Council of Chalcedon (in the year 451) teach in this regard? (CCC 467)
The Council of Chalcedon teaches us to confess “one and same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, perfect in his humanity, true God and true man, composed of rational soul and body, consubstantial with the Father by his divinity, and consubstantial with us by his humanity, “like us in all things but sin” (Hwbrews4:15), begotten from the Father before all ages as to his divinity, and in these last days, for us and for our salvation, born of Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, as to his humanity.
- How does the Church set forth the Mystery of the incarnation? (CCC 464-470, 479-481)
The Church confesses that Jesus Christ is true God and true man, with two natures, a divine nature and a human nature, not confused with each other but united in one Person of the Word. Therefore, in the humanity of Jesus all things – his suffering and his death – must be attributed to his divine Person which acts by means of his assumed human nature.
“O Only-begotten Son and Word of God you who are immortal, you who deigned for our salvation to become incarnate of the holy Mother of God and ever Virgin Mary (…) You who are one of the Holy Trinity, glorified with the Father and the Holy Spirit, save us!” (Byzantine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom)
- Did the incarnate Son of God have a soul with human knowledge? (CCC 470-474, 482)
The Son of God assumed a body animated by a rational human soul. With his human intellect Jesus learned many things by way of experience; but also as man, the Son of God had an intimate and immediate knowledge of God his Father. He likewise understood people’s secret thoughts and he knew fully the eternal plans which he had come to reveal.
- How did the two wills of the incarnate Word cooperate? (CCC 475, 482)
Jesus had a divine will and a human will. In his earthly life the Son of God humanly willed all that he had divinely decided with the Father and the Holy Spirit for our salvation. The human will of Christ followed without opposition or reluctance the divine will or, in other words, it was subject to it.
- Did Christ have a true human body? (CCC 475-477)
Christ assumed a true human body by means of which the invisible God became visible. This is the reason why Christ can be represented and venerated in sacred images.
- What does the heart of Jesus exemplify? (CCC 478)
Jesus knew us and loved us with a human heart. His heart, pierced for our salvation, is the symbol of that invisible love with which he loves the Father and each one of us.
LET US PRAY:
Lord Jesus, you are all I want and I find in you more than I could possibly need. Lord, though I know this now and swear that I will never leave you, yet I realize I will go searching after other things in order to fulfil my never ending desires. Fountain of everlasting life, spring up in my heart and satisfy all my needs so that I will never wish to leave you again. All glory be to the Father, to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, Amen.
Ref: MOST REV. DR. ANTHONY O. GBUJI (PIONEER BISHOP OF ISSELE-UKU; BISHOP EMERITUS OF ENUGU)