The great Christian author C.S. Lewis makes a powerful point in his book Mere Christianity. He says that there is no doubt that Christ makes the claim that he is divine, that he and the Father are one. We don’t find this sort of claim by any of the founders of the other religions of the world. Buddha, Mohammed, Confucius - none of them claims divinity. Lewis says that we have only three options when it comes to Jesus’ claim. First of all we can judge Christ as deranged, mentally ill and feel sorry for him. Secondly we can call him a liar, someone who knows he is not God and is trying to delude people, and condemn him for his deceit. Or finally, we have no choice but to believe him and declare him our Lord and God. Most of us have done that and count ourselves as his disciples. It is important, however, to remember that Christ warns us that “It is not the person who cries out 'Lord, Lord’ who will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father.” In other words, believing in Christ must lead to living in His way or else our belief will not lead us to salvation. In this regard, perhaps it is helpful during this penitential season to examine how we put into practice the Beatitudes which Christ gave us as concrete examples of the kind of actions he requires of us. Are we peacemakers in our families, school, or places of work? Where we see conflict and division do we actively strive to bring healing and reconciliation, or are we sources of such division? Are we poor in spirit, that is, not slaves to material goods and, as a result, can we be generous to those in need? How we live out these and the other Beatitudes are a clear witness to whether or not we proclaim Christ not only with our lips but with our lives. And such a “life proclamation” is what he requires of us.
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