Summary of Catechism paragraphs 422-83:
- Jesus Christ is the very heart of the teaching of our faith; indeed, the ultimate purpose of catechesis is to lead us into communion with Him.
- The defining characteristic of the Christian faith is to believe that Jesus is the Son of God who became man – the doctrine known as the “Incarnation.”
- The Eternal Word of the Father took on flesh in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary to reconcile us with God, save us from our sins, show forth God’s love, teach us to be holy, and raise us up to share in His own divine life.
- The very name “Jesus” reveals His identity and redemptive mission, for its Hebrew form means “God saves.”
- “Christ” is the title that describes His mission; deriving from the Greek translation of the Hebrew Messiah, the term refers to the One “anointed” by God to inaugurate His kingdom.
- Jesus is anointed, or consecrated, by the Spirit as priest, prophet, and king; these offices are first glimpsed in the Old Testament, where they serve as precursors to their fulfillment in Christ.
- Similarly, “son of God” is a title used in the Old Testament, but only in the sense of a sonship granted by adoption; Jesus is the Son of God in a radically different way, being His only Son by nature, and a divine Person Himself.
- Jesus’ divinity is clearly recognized in the New Testament through the use of the divine title “Lord” – the same word that appears in the Old Testament as a substitution for God’s own name, YHWH; thus Jesus is God Himself.
- Jesus is fully God and fully man, not a little bit of both; He is one divine Person with two natures, the divine and the human, in perfect union; known as the hypostatic union, this doctrine was articulated at the Council of Chalcedon in 451 in response to heresy.
- This truth has profound implications: Jesus has united Himself to us and truly entered into our experience of human life – growing up, having to eat and sleep, taking care of daily responsibilities – becoming like us in all things except sin.
Live Your Faith
Our personal encounter with Jesus is the essence of Christianity. If we are not on intimate terms with our Lord and Savior, we are missing the entire point.
It is our relationship with the Person of Jesus Christ that fuels our prayer, drives our hunger for the Eucharist, sparks our desire to please Him in all things, and fires our enthusiasm for sharing our faith with others.
Jesus wants to draw us closer; don’t keep Him waiting!