“What does it mean to be in Christ, and why should you care?”
The purpose of this episode is to unpack what Saint Paul means by “in Christ” to help us understand what the Council Fathers wanted us to understand by with the statement “the Church is in Christ like a sacrament.”
Our episode quote is the answer to question 136 in the Baltimore Catechism and we are going to introduce the Vatican II document on unity.
After listening to this podcast, you will be able to:
- Define what is meant by being “in Christ.”
- Tell the difference between the names Jesus and Christ.
- Explain what is a sacrament.
- Tell why “the Church is in Christ like a sacrament.”
Lumen Gentium Text
This text from Vatican II document Lumen Gentium is the basis for the content of this episode:
“Since the Church is in Christ like a sacrament – or as a sign and instrument both of a very closely knit union with God and of the unity of the whole human race.” §01 ¶01
|Question: What is a Sacrament?
Answer: A Sacrament is an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace.
What does it mean to be in Christ?
- Galatians 3:26: “Through faith you are all children of God in Christ Jesus.”
- 1 Corinthians 12:12-31 the Church is like a human body made of many parts but in unity. The Church needs unity, not uniformity.
- Daily Mass Readings from the USCCB.
What is the difference between Jesus and Christ?
- Jesus is the name given by Gabriel to Mary at the Annunciation. (Luke 1:26-38)
- God confirmed this name to Joseph in a dream. (Matthew 1:20-25)
- Jesus was a common Jewish name at the time meaning “God saves.”
- This name fulfills the prophecy given in Isaiah 7:14. God came among His people to save them.
- There is amazing power in the name of Jesus.
- “There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.” Acts 4:12
- “God greatly exalted [Jesus] and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:10-11
- We are called to ask for everything in the name of Jesus to gain us access to the Father. Because of the power in His name, it is a sin to misuse it. “You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name.” Exodus 20:7
- Jesus is His Name, Christ is His office.
- Jesus is the Messiah, the anointed One, the one promised throughout the Hebrew Scriptures.
- Calling Him Jesus Christ is the most common, less formal way to address Him.
- This name recognizes Him first as human and then as God. Calling Him Christ Jesus is a more informal method seeing Him first as God then man.
- Some people are only comfortable with Christ as they would be only calling people by their titles while other only want to know Him as Jesus.
- None is better than the other.
- What is important is use His name with the respect it deserves, call out to Him in all things and to pray in His name.
- What does being in Christ mean to you? What does it mean being a part of the body of Christ, the Church? How important is Church to you?
How Then is the Church in Christ like a Sacrament
- Without Christ in the sacraments they are nothing but empty rituals. Without Christ in the Church it is nothing but a social club and an international aid agency.
- “Grace is favor, the free and undeserved help that God gives us to respond to his call to become children of God, adoptive sons, partakers of the divine nature and of eternal life. Grace is a participation in the life of God.” ~ Catechism of the Catholic Church 1996 – 1997
- The grace given in the Sacraments is not earned but freely given because God wants to give it.
- The Church is like a sacrament because Jesus instituted it:
- Matthew 16:18 “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church.”
- Matthew 28:19-20 The Great Commission of the Church
- Matthew 25:31-46 Where Jesus separates the sheep from the goats, instituting the corporal works of mercy.
- Acts 2 where the Holy Spirit comes and the Church is born.
- Acts 11:19-29 where the Holy Spirit uses the apostles to begin establishing communities across the whole world.
Vatican II on Unity
- About healing the wounds of division within the Church that Jesus predicted in John 17, not on compromising on the Truth entrusted to us by the Holy Spirit.
- There is nothing noble about fracturing the Church.
- Unless debates within the Church over the trifles are a trick from out enemy to divide and weakened us.
- Decree On Ecumenism (Unitatis Redintegratio)
- Less than 7,500 words
- Chapter 1) Catholic Principles On Ecumenism
- Chapter 2) The Practice Of Ecumenism
- Chapter 3) Churches And Ecclesial Communities Separated From The Roman Apostolic See
- Eastern Orthodox
- Articles on unity
- Lecto Divinia on 1 Corinthians 12:12-31
- Lecto Divinia from the Order of Preachers (Dominicians) during their jublie year.
Do What You Can Do To Bring Unity
- Find some small act that you can start that will help in bringing unity in your parish.
- Encourage others to do the same.
May you be open to receiving the blessings that the Father has for you.
May you be open to conforming yourself to the image of Christ, the light of nations.
May you be open to the boldness of the Holy Spirit guiding you to live a life worthy of your calling.
May you be seeking God’s will for your life and doing what brings Him greater glory.
And I for these blessing on you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Thanks be to God!
Saint George Preca, pray for us!