Who is Jesus Christ for you? His Holiness Pope Francis posed this question in his homily during the morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta. If someone asks us the question, “Who is Jesus Christ?”, we should say what we have learned: He is the Saviour of the world, the Son of the Father, which “we recite in the Creed.” But, the Pontiff said, it is a little more difficult to answer the question of who Jesus Christ is “for me.” It is a question that can embarrass us a little bit, because in order to answer that question, “I have to dig into my heart”; that is, we have to begin from our own experience.
As reported by Vatican news, His Holiness Pope Francis remarked that “Saint Paul experienced precisely this uneasiness in bearing witness to Jesus Christ. He knew Jesus through his own experience of being thrown from his horse, when the Lord spoke to his heart. He didn’t begin to know Christ by studying theology, even if later he “went to see how Jesus was proclaimed in Scripture.” Further, the Pontiff added, “Paul wants Christians to feel what he himself felt. In response to the question that we can put to Paul – “Paul, who is Christ for you?” – he spoke simply about his own experience: “He loved me, and gave Himself for me.” But he was involved with Christ who paid for him. And Paul wants every Christian – in this case, the Christians of Ephesus – to have this experience, to enter into this experience, to the point that each one can say, “He loved me, and gave Himself for me,” but to say it from their own personal experience.” Reciting the Creed can help us to know about Jesus, His Holiness Pope Francis said. But in order to really know Him, as St Paul came to know Him, it is better to begin by acknowledging that we are sinners. This, the Pontiff said, is the first step. When Paul says that Jesus gave Himself for him, he is saying that He paid for him, and this comes out in all of his letters. And the first definition Paul gives of himself follows from this: He says he is “a sinner,” he admits that he persecuted Christians. He begins precisely by recognizing that he was “chosen through love, although he is a sinner.”
The Pontiff concluded his remarks by reminding the two steps we need to take to really know Jesus Christ “The first step is knowing oneself: that we are sinners, sinners. Without this understanding, and without this interior confession – that I am a sinner – we cannot go forward. The second step is prayer to the Lord, who with His power makes us know this mystery of Jesus, which is the fire that He has brought upon the earth. It would be a good habit if every day, in every moment, we could say, “Lord, let me know You, and know myself.”