by Martin, sx
“Is any one in history more famous than Jesus of Nazareth?” asks Donald Senior. Obviously, what is at stake in this question is not fame as commonly understood and looked for by so many people. Christ never sought fame or intended to be acknowledged as the most famous person in the world. The Gospels repeatedly insist on the fact that he was a man who cared less about his reputation. He chose to remain at the level of his ordinary contemporaries by strictly defending the beneficiaries of his healing power to sound the trumpet in front of him! However, his life and his teaching did give him a fame far beyond the one that the most smart and skilled human being can achieve.
Even those who do not follow Christ’s teaching cannot dismiss the truth that Christ’s figure transcends our human existence just as the lighthouse overhangs the ocean. His incarnation has radically changed the course of our human history. From that on, there is a before Christ and an after Christ. He is the point of reference per excellence both at a cosmic and individual level. Consequently, each person may rightly read one’s existence taking Christ as turning point: before his\her encounter with Christ and after his\her encounter with Christ.
Christ entered into our human history more than two thousand years ago. Yet, his life and message continue to shape and reshape the lives of generations and generations of disciples. At the dawn of the twenty first century, Christ’s Word is still relevant and full of significance for us. And there is no doubt that the generations to come will find in the same Word meaning and guidance as we do today. Christ’s event is the only thing that escapes the erosion of time. A generation comes and goes: Christ subsists forever.
Though he himself did not write anything, it is amazing to consider the vast and prolific literature born out of the few books that talk about him in the collection called the New Testament. Scholars from all over the world have scrutinized verse after verse of the so-called Collection. They have produced huge amount of commentaries on the life and teachings of Jesus. They have filled libraries with books! And yet, there is still so much to say about Christ. Every generation will have to produce her own literature about Christ and add its own original touch to the heritage of the previous ones handed down to her. For Christ walks with the people of each time and speaks to them a language that makes sense to them.
It isn’t a secret for anyone that humanity has born outstanding men and women at every stage of its history. Names like Socrates, Plato, Thomas Aquinas, Einstein, Martin Luther King, Buddha, Gandhi, Mandela, Mao Tse Tung, Romero, J.F.Kennedy, Magellan, Galileo, Madre Teresa and many others are remembered and will be remembered till the end of time. Actually, these are people, who marked their times with an indelible seal. However, none of them equals Christ. They live in the memory of those who knew them and found in them inspiration for their existence. They live in the books they have written or that others have written about them. But Christ is neither a memory nor a legend. He is not confined in the shelves of the most equipped theological library. Christ is alive! He is a living Person that can be met and encountered intimately as it happened for Mary Magdalene, the Twelve, Simon of Cyrene, Paul…Christ is the same today, yesterday and forever!