Christopher Vogel, LC
Being a Christian is about following Christ and imitating Him in the way that He thinks, acts, and feels. Sometimes I have wondered what it would be like to take a peek inside Christ’s mind. What was the focal point of all His thoughts during the time He spent here on earth? Which images and ideas were constantly on His mind during his earthly stay among us?
Words and actions reveal man’s innermost sanctuary, and so in the words and actions of Jesus in the Gospels we can catch a glimpse of what is going on inside Christ’s mind. The very first phrase that comes from the lips of Jesus in the Gospels is, “Did you not know that I must be about the things of my Father?” (Lk 2:49). And the very last phrase Christ uttered before He died was, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit” (Lk 23:46). The Father. In between these first and last phrases, we constantly find Jesus speaking to or referring to the Father. “The Father” appears even in Christ’s most spontaneous reactions, such as his “joyous exclamation” of thanksgiving in Luke 10:21: “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for hiding these things from the wise and understanding and revealing them to little children”. The Father was certainly present at the center of Christ’s thoughts.
Another theme weaved in and out of all of Christ’s words and actions in the gospels is the Kingdom. The Kingdom is the very core of Jesus’ preaching and it is the heart of his saving message to man: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his justice, and all these things will be added unto you” (Mt 6:33) “Convert, because the Kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mt 3:2). In his book “Jesus of Nazareth”, Benedict XVI explains how the Kingdom of God is central in Christ’s message: “The center of Christ’s communication is the announcement of the closeness of God’s Kingdom. This announcement in fact represents the center of the word and activity of Jesus. This can be confirmed by a statistical fact: in the New Testament the expression ‘Kingdom of God’ is used 122 times… 90 times the expression is found in words pronounced by Jesus”. The Kingdom was certainly a focal point in the thought of Jesus.
The centrality of ‘the Father’ and ‘the Kingdom’ in Christ’s mind is confirmed by the late Cardinal Giacomo Biffi in his book ‘The Man Jesus Christ: “Even in the great variety of arguments treated, there is no fragmentation or incoherence in the vision of Christ. Everything is collected and unified around two fundamental, recurrent themes: ‘the Father’ and ‘the Kingdom’.”
Lent is a time of conversion in which we are invited to conform our thoughts, words, and actions to Christ. Our society is intensely individualistic. All we need to do is take a look at our personal devices, the way we shop and buy, the way we communicate, in order to realize that everything is tailored to the individual. With all this inertia it is easy for us to make the center of our thoughts “me”. Yet Christ was intensely focused on the Father and the Kingdom during his earthly stay among us, not himself. What better time than Lent to imitate Christ and reverse the individualistic inertia, uplifting our thoughts to God and His Kingdom, and focusing on serving Him in our brothers and sisters.
Photo credit: Lawrence OP
Article originally published here