We really have no reason why we cannot assume Christ’s identity. Of course, we have to do our part. We have to want and to love him. Before that, we have to know him more and more, perhaps through regular reading and meditation of his life and teaching as contained in the gospels.
There’s no doubt about it. We are meant to assume the identity of Christ, because he is the pattern of our humanity and the savior of our damaged humanity. We can only be as we ought to be when we assume Christ’s identity. That is to say, when Christ and us become one.
A fantasy? A gratuitous exaggeration? Would we not fall into some grave presumption here or some psychological disorder? Such reactions, of course, are understandable. As they say, we are only human (sapagkat kami’y tao lamang), and so we can never aspire to be like Christ, much less, to be Christ himself.
But Christ himself said so in so many words. “He who hears you hears me,” he said, “and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who reject me rejects him who sent me.” (Lk 10, 16) Though spoken directly to his apostles, such words can also be addressed to all of us.
More than that, his ardent prayer before he entered into his passion and death was that we be one with him and he is one with his Father. “…that all of them may be one, as you, Father, are in me, and I am in you. May they also be in us…that they may be one as we are one, I in them and you in me, so that they may be brought to complete unity…” (Jn 17, 21, 23)
That is why St. Paul went to the extent of saying he had the mind of Christ. “For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him?” he asked. “But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Cor 2, 16)
And what is to have the mind of Christ? St. Paul offers some ideas. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus,” he said. “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!” (Phil 2, 5-8)
To be like Christ, to have his mind, to assume Christ’s identity, to be “another Christ” as some theologians have described what the ideal is for us is to be humble, to be obedient, to love everyone, including the enemies, to be willing to suffer for all, to preach the truth, to have the attitude of wanting to serve and not to be served, etc.
To be sure, for us to be ‘another Christ’ is not our initiative. It is God’s initiative for which he has given us all the means for it to take place. He has given us his word and his sacraments. He has given us the Church and the many instrumentalities it possesses.
In the end, he has given us Christ himself, the living Christ who offers his life for us, in the Holy Eucharist. Christ makes himself so available to us that we can have him for the taking.
We really have no reason why we cannot assume Christ’s identity. Of course, we have to do our part. We have to want and to love him. Before that, we have to know him more and more, perhaps through regular reading and meditation of his life and teaching as contained in the gospels. Not only should we be familiar with his words and deeds, but should also make those words and deeds as our own.
This will require a certain plan of life that will always bring us to Christ whatever the situation and circumstance of our life. But it would not be wrong if very often during the day we remind ourselves, “I am another Christ. I have to see things, understand them and react to them, as Christ would!” We have to overcome the initial awkwardness to enter into the ultimate reality meant for us./WDJ