To Know Jesus Christ

St. John's Gospel reports that the Lord spoke to his disciples about the knowing and seeing the Father predicated upon knowing Him. "If you know me you would know my Father." (Jn. 14:7).  But what exactly does he mean?  How do we "know" Jesus Christ?  Perhaps we get an indication from the what it means to "know" according to the Bible.   The Blessed Virgin Mary questions the Angel who tells her of her Son's conception and upcoming birth by asking "how can this be since I do not 'know' man?"  (Lk. 1).   What she meant was since I have no carnal knowledge of a man, no relations with her husband.  Therefore we can say that at least one aspect of attaining knowledge biblically is through intimate union or contact with another.   The most comon manner or the most intimate two human beings can know is through the conjugal act.   However, knowledge isn't limited this union.   There is another deeper and more profound union, that of becoming one flesh with another.   This is found in the unqiuely intimate union with the Lord in the Eucharist, which we refer to as true "communion" or union with another.  

How do we attain knowledge?   Through physical contact, to the senses.   We attain knowledge with our bodies.  Through sight, sound, touch, taste or smell, our bodies are the medium by which we can "know" something or someone.   Therefore, to come to know Jesus Christ is by necessity to come into contact with him.   We do so when we hear Sacred Scripture for it is the very "Verbum" or Word made Flesh in Jesus Christ that we hear.   But as Catholics we also can see, touch, taste and smell the Lord's physical presence in the Eucharist.   It is in both Word and Sacrament that the human body comes into an intimate contact with the Lord Jesus.   This physical means then opens the pathway to "know" Jesus Christ. 

Knowledge requires more than contact though, the fullness of knowledge and intimate union (communion) requires entering into a relationship (friendship) which fosters knowledge by touch into knowledge of love.   Once we have "encountered" Jesus through contact now we must develop our relationship with him in order to love him.   That relationship grows through prayer, dialogue and conversation with the Lord himself.   If we do not foster our friendship with prayer we run the risk of really not knowing the Lord.   Consider the Apostle Philip who admits not seeing the Father.   Jesus retorts, have I been with you so long and you still do not know me?" (Jn. 14:10).   

Only through constant prayer can one finally discover the true face of Jesus Christ, and slowly come to fully "know" him.   This knowledge breeds love.   To see the Father, to see God is to know the Lord Jesus to the point where we have established a true, ongoing relationship (friendship) with the Lord.   

Fr. Vasquez

 
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