Jesus in Christianity-A A +A
As I See It
Monday, April 1, 2013
WE ARE always happy to say that we are Christians. Why are we Christians? We are Christians because we are the followers of Jesus Christ. Who said so? Well, our grandparents were Christians and the grandparents before them were also Christians. Christianity becomes a trademark, a coat of faith, a family heirloom, a religious undertaking, a congregational obligation… or even a what-to-do-on-Sunday activity. Sometimes, we forget that we are Christians on ordinary days, but on a Saturday or Sunday, we are reminded. It would depend on our choice of a denomination.
In the clan where I belong, Christianity played an active role and our lives are loaded with dots because of different religions taking shapes in our being Christians. In the observance of the Lenten Season, we are very universal. Our Roman Catholic anchors insist that we have to do the Ash Wednesday ritual, the Palm Sunday donkey ride, the Last Supper based on the Rossano Codex, the Golgotha scene, the procession of the ‘pasos’, and the belief in the Resurrection.
Those who belong to the other religions have their own ways of doing things that I call rituals. Some don’t agree with me and I don’t insist. Fridays are even mentioned as off limit for meat eaters but just the same meat is served in a social gathering. Some don’t eat meat and they go home with greens only in their stomach while others go home with additional packs of lechon. Those who do not eat pork among us opted to eat pork and beans in can. They don’t find pork among the beans and if there is pork, it is just ceremoniously discarded.
Our being Christians is anchored in the Holy Bible. We all agree that Jesus is the “living bread.” There are times that in our Church in Silay, we are given “pan de sal” symbolizing Christ. Jesus is the good shepherd and we belong to his flock. He is also the true vine and we are attached to him. We always expect grapes in the vine and we aspire to end up drinking red wine. Our priest is a wine-er.
The faith in us is also represented by the fish. Jesus multiplied loaves and fishes and he told his disciples to be fishers of men. The Greek word for fish is ICHTHYS. This is an acrostic for “Jesus Christ, Son of God, and Savior.” The fish symbol could be found in the meeting place in the catacombs in Rome used by the early Christians. The “fish sign” could be a secret symbol of Christian identification. We love to eat fish. It is low in cholesterol. Don’t just buy fish caught through illegal fishing. That is very unchristian.
The cross was never a part of Christianity, not until the fourth century A.D. The early Christians may have been reluctant to glorify an object connected with such a shameful punishment. Constantine the Great (306-337) popularized the cross based on his vision, “Conquer by this.” Christ’s monogram is the two Greek letters Chi and Rho.
Helena, the mother of Constantine and of Santacruzan fame, discovered the cross of Jesus in Jerusalem. To date, the cross has become a definitive symbol of Christianity. There are those who cross themselves before boxing their opponent. I hope no politicians will do this. Vampires are even afraid of the cross. Lenten reflection: “Do not cross the devil’s path if you don’t want to have toasted bread for breakfast in hell!” Happy Easter!
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on April 01, 2013.