The kingdom and its challenge
READING the Scriptures also makes it clear that the Gospel is not merely about our personal relationship with God. Nor should our loving response to God be seen simply as an accumulation of small personal gestures to individuals in need, a kind of “charity à la carte”, or a series of acts aimed solely at easing our conscience.
The Gospel is about the kingdom of God (cf. Luke 4:43); it is about loving God, who reigns in our world. To the extent that He reigns within us, the life of society will be a setting for universal fraternity, justice, peace and dignity. Both Christian preaching and life, then, are meant to have an impact on society. We are seeking God’s kingdom: “Seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you, as well” (Matthew 6:33). Jesus’ mission is to inaugurate the kingdom of His Father; He commands His disciples to proclaim the good news that “the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 10:7).
The kingdom, already present and growing in our midst, engages us at every level of our being and reminds us of the principle of discernment, which Pope Paul VI applied to true development: it must be directed to all men and the whole man. We know that evangelization would not be complete if it did not take account of the unceasing interplay of the Gospel and of man’s concrete life, both personal and social.
This is the principle of universality intrinsic to the Gospel, for the Father desires the salvation of every man and woman, and His saving plan consists in “gathering up all things in Christ, things in heaven and things on earth” (Ephesians 1:10). Our mandate is to “go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation” (Mark 16:15), for “the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God” (Romans 8:19).
Here, “the creation” refers to every aspect of human life; consequently, the mission of proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ has a universal destination. Its mandate of charity encompasses all dimensions of existence, all individuals, all areas of community life and all peoples. Nothing human can be alien to it. True Christian hope, which seeks the eschatological kingdom, always generates history.
The Church’s teaching on social questions
THE Church’s teachings concerning contingent situations are subject to new and further developments and can be open to discussion, yet, we cannot help but be concrete—without presuming to enter into details—lest the great social principles remain mere generalities that challenge no one.
There is a need to draw practical conclusions, so that they will have greater impact on the complexities of current situations. The Church’s pastors, taking into account the contributions of the different sciences, have the right to offer opinions on all that affects people’s lives, since the task of evangelization implies and demands the integral promotion of each human being.
To be continued
For comments, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. For donations to Caritas Manila, call (632) 563-9311. For inquiries, call (632) 563-9308 or 563-9298, or fax 563-9306.