"The desire to know the face of God is in every man, even the atheists," but this desire is only realized by following Christ, in whom, in the Incarnation, "something unimaginable took place, the journey that began with Abraham is fulfilled. He is the Son, the fullness of all Revelation; the mediator who shows us the face of God. "
And "to proclaim together that Jesus is the Saviour of
the world" Benedict XVI asked for incessant prayers for "the great gift"
of Christian unity in the forthcoming week, which begins on the 18th of
Previously, in his catechesis, he again reflected on
the meaning of Christmas, in a commentary on John's Gospel in which the
apostle Philip asks Jesus to show them the Father. The answer of Jesus,
"introduces us to the heart of the Church's Christological faith; For
the Lord says: "Whoever has seen me has seen the Father" (Jn 14:9).This
expression summarizes the novelty of the New Testament, the novelty that
appeared in the cave of Bethlehem: God can be seen, he showed his face
is visible in Jesus Christ".
The theme of "seeking the face of
God" is present throughout the Old Testament, so much so that the Hebrew
term "face", occurs no less than 400 times, 100 of which refer to God."
The of Jewish religion which the religion forbids all images, "for God
can not be depicted," and "can not be reduced to an object," tells us
that "God has a face, that is a" you " that He is a "You" that can enter
into a relationship", that "He turns to us and hears, sees and speaks
to us, makes covenants, He is capable of love. Salvation history is the
history of this relationship of God with humanity, of this relationship
in which He progressively reveals Himself to man, making Himself and His
In the Old Testament there is a figure connected in
a very special way with the theme of the "face of God": Moses, who, in
Exodus, we are told "had a close and confidential relationship with
God", so much so that he asked the Lord to show him "His glory," and the
answer was " I will make all my beauty pass before you, and in your
presence I will pronounce my name ... But my face you cannot see, for no
man sees me and still lives ... Here is a place near me ... so that you
may see my back; but my face is not to be seen "(vv. 18-23). " On the
one hand, then, there is a face to face dialogue, as friends, but on the
other there is the impossibility, in this life, of seeing the face of
God, which remains hidden; its' vision is limited. The Fathers say this:
you can only see my back, which means that you can only follow Christ
and see from behind the mystery of God. We can only follow God, seeing
"Something, however, new happens - he continued -with
the Incarnation. The search for the face of God receives an incredible
sea change, because we can now see this face: it is that of Jesus, the
Son of God who became man".
In the end, therefore, the desire to
know the face of God "is realised by following Christ: thus we see his
back and finally we also see God as a friend, his face in the face of
For this we must follow him "not only in times of need
and when we find space in our daily tasks, but with our very lives."
"Our entire existence should be directed to the encounter with Him, to
love Him; and, love of neighbour must also have a central place, a love
that, in the light of the Crucifix, enables us to recognize the face of
Jesus in the poor, the weak, the suffering. This is only possible if the
true face of Jesus has become familiar to us in listening to His Word,
and especially in the mystery of the Eucharist. In the Gospel of St.
Luke the passage of the two disciples of Emmaus, who recognize Jesus in
the breaking of the bread, is significant. For us, the Eucharist is the
great school in which we learn to see the face of God, where we enter
into an intimate relationship with Him and learn at the same time to
turn our gaze to the final moment of history, when He will fill us with
the light of His face. On earth we walk towards this fullness, in the
joyful expectation for the coming of the Kingdom of God".