“Who do you say I am?”
We are always living with this question, moving from simply knowing about Jesus to knowing him. It’s not that Jesus changes. We do. And in doing so, we not only discover Jesus anew, we discover ourselves anew. Then, with Peter, our response will be, “You are the Christ.”
It has been said that when Jesus said to Peter, “Upon this rock I will build my church”, he is referring to Peter’s faith and his understanding of the Christ Mystery. Christ is not Jesus’ last name. The word Christ is a title, meaning the Anointed One. Many people have limited that anointing to the unique person of Jesus. After his conversion experience, Paul understood that the meaning of the Anointed One, the Christ, includes us and includes all of creation since the beginning of time. “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For in Him all things were created, things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, All things were created through Him and for Him. He exists before all things, and in Him all things have their being.” (Col 1: 15-17) Paul uses the phrase “in Christ” 164 times to describe this organic unity and participation in Christ. “I live no longer, not I; but Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:20). “In Christ” is his code phrase for this new participatory life. Paul is obsessed with the idea that “I’m participating in something that’s bigger than me.”
What if we’ve missed the point of who Christ is, what Christ is, and where Christ is? I believe that a Christian is simply one who has learned to see Christ everywhere. Understanding the Universal or Cosmic Christ can change the way we relate to creation, to other religions, to other people, to ourselves, and to God. Knowing and experiencing this Christ-soaked universe can bring about a major shift in consciousness. Like Saul’s experience on the road to Damascus, we won’t be the same after encountering the Cosmic Christ. After conversion, we don’t look out at reality; we look out from reality. In other words, God is not “out there”: we are in God and God is in us.
Adapted. Richard Rohr