August 2, 2017
Bishop Ariel Cornelio P. Santos
You are witnesses of these things. Jesus said, “Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sin will be proclaimed in His Name to all the nations.” We are witnesses of God’s love, expressed in the death and the resurrection of Jesus for us, and this delivers us from sin and death. Because of this, we are free; we are no longer slaves to sin or death because we are children of God purchased by Jesus’ love.
I would like to emphasize that we are human, and it is sad that there is a common misunderstanding of the word ‘human.’ Many songs would say that because we are human, we commit mistakes, and the weakness of man and sin are justified.
The truth of our creation is that we are human beings. We were created by God to be flesh and blood, not to be weak. It is said that we commit mistakes because it is human nature. Human nature was originally, and is, as children of God, partakers of the Divine nature. Today, society is justifying sin, and science explains that man is created to have the tendency to have a certain behavioral disorders.
The original intention of God in our lives is that we were created in His image and likeness. We are not perfect, but underneath this stain in our life, the truth of our creation is the image of God. Genesis 1 says that man was created very good. Sin marred it and man has the tendency to magnify the negative side rather than the positive. Controversial issues are given much notice because people are more interested in the negative side of life.
Theologians said that when Adam sinned, the sin was called the original sin, and people inherited it. They blew it out of proportion, and the positive things that Jesus did was way underrated. They did not give emphasis on the truth that what Jesus did to reverse the sin of Adam was also inherited by us. In effect, Jesus has erased what we inherited from Adam.
The Paschal Nostrum, out of 1Corinthians 15, says, “As in Adam, all men die, even so in Christ, all are made alive.” But this has been set aside, and what was magnified was the original sin, and so this is how we see man – in his human nature – the sinful one. In Romans 5:20, St. Paul says, “Where sin abounds, God’s grace abounds even more.”
Jesus shows us the true image and likeness of God. He is the perfect human. Romans 8 says that we have been predestined to be conformed to the image of Jesus His Son. We are not human like Adam, but like Christ. We are perfect human, not superhuman. A perfect human is a perfect example of what a human being should be. A superhuman is not ordinary and cannot be reached by other people. Jesus became man, and was made like us in all things, except for sin. This means that man was created good, but the only problem with man is sin, which destroys his image. In all that we do, it is not the activity that makes us imperfect, but sin because God created us good.
Jesus is not super human where we could not do what He can. We were created like Him, and with this, Jesus shows us how we could use our full potential as God’s creation. If Jesus was able to do many things during His ministry life, we can also do it. If He was a super human, we cannot do what He did. The good news is that the grace and power of God in our lives are what strengthens us so that we can reach our full potential.
We are witnesses. St. Paul tells us that there is the old man and the new man. Let us remove from our minds that we are the old self, which failed. If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, and this is who we are. Let us not think of ourselves as sinners, but demonstrate to others that we are a new creation. We don’t have to succumb to sin and its power.
We are to show people that there is hope, and that we are not to be conformed to the seemingly sinful nature. Our real self is in the image of God, and we have been given power and authority not to be slaves to the things of the world that destroys us.
In the gospel where Jesus was walking on water, He showed us that we are to learn from the things that He did as a man, and that we are able to do the things that He did. Water symbolized the situations that we are encountering, and Jesus showed us, by walking on water, that we can conquer whatever faces us.
Our calling is to be witnesses of what Jesus did for us, so that we can change the image of God in man. Man may be a small dot as compared to the whole universe that God created, and if God can create life as wonderful as we experience, surely He can create things elsewhere. However, His attention is on us, that small dot. This is how God loves us, and even if man sinned, He chose to give His Son’s life for us. If God’s image in us is very important to Him, then, we have a big responsibility to be His witnesses.
We are witnesses of these things. God intended a good life for us. We were made in His image, He gave His life for us because this is the way it is in the kingdom of our God.