“A voice came from the heavens, ‘You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.’” (Mk 1,11)
As the gospel of St. Mark narrates, these words were heard by St. John the Baptist after he baptized Christ in the River Jordan. He saw the heavens opened and the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove descending on Christ, and these words were spoken.
Obviously, the purpose of this testimony is to underline the true identity of Christ—that he is not just any ordinary prophet. He is the very Son of God who became man to offer “the way, the truth and the life,” the life proper to mankind.
This is a truth of faith that has to be taken by faith more than anything else. Without faith, there likely would be at least some doubt if not outright unbelief about the veracity of this claim.
And so, faith is indeed needed here. As St. Thomas Aquinas said once, “To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.”
And yet there are other things that can lend credibility to what was said during Christ’s baptism. That he performed miracles, that he preached very sublime doctrine, that he had all the virtues that can be found in any man, that he offered his life on the cross and then resurrected, and that he ultimately appeared to certain people after his resurrection and was seen ascending into heaven—all these should leave no doubt as to Christ’s divinity and his role as our true savior.
We need to strengthen our belief in Christ and to do everything to follow him. In fact, we need to become like him as we are meant to be. We are meant to be “alter Christus,” another Christ, as some theologians have explained.
This is always possible and doable because in spite of our insufficient efforts to become like Christ, God’s grace is always there for us. All that is needed is for us to do our best or at least to be open and receptive to God’s grace and mercy. As St. Paul once said, “He who has begun a good work in you will continue to perfect and complete it until the day of Christ Jesus the time of His return.” (Phil 1,6)
But it should be a constant concern of ours to know, love and serve Christ which should have a necessary consequence to know, love and serve the others. Knowing and loving Christ is proven when we serve him by doing his will, by complying with his commandment, the last of which was “to love your neighbor as I (Christ) have loved you.” (Jn 13,34)
We should try our best that the main interest in our life is to be like Christ. Everything else—our work, our family life, our business and politics, our successes and failures, etc.—should serve only as a means and an occasion to be like Christ.
It’s important that we know Christ thoroughly and love him to such an extent that he and us become one as we are meant to be. This is no pipe dream, since Christ has given us everything to achieve this goal. He has, in fact, given us his very own self in the Holy Eucharist. We just have to receive that sacrament with a heart full of faith and love. That way, what is impossible becomes possible and a reality for us.*