Jesus Christ (Pantokrator)“The Redeemer of man, Jesus Christ, is the centre of the universe and of history.”

[1] Pope John Paul II penned these words at the beginning of his first encyclical, Redemptor hominis, in 1979. As Catholics we are called to reawaken within us the awareness of the fundamental truth of our Christian faith, which St. John so clearly expressed in his Gospel: “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). Jesus Christ, truly God and truly man, entered into human history in order to draw all creation to God the Father. If as John Paul II teaches, Christ’s act of redemption is the high point of human history within God’s plan of salvation, what does it have to do with us in the twenty-first century? Was not the work of salvation complete in Christ’s death on the Cross? To answer this, we must go back to Christ’s own words to the disciples shortly before he ascended into heaven, where He commanded them, “Go, therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt 28:19). This is the mission of the Church to the world. The Church “exists in order to evangelise, that is to say in order to preach and teach, to be the channel of the gift of grace, to reconcile sinners with God, and to perpetuate Christ’s sacrifice in the Mass, which is the memorial of his death and glorious Resurrection.”[2] As members of the Christian faithful, we are all entrusted with this mission to proclaim the message of salvation to the world. Certainly this is achieved by living good Christian lives in which we practise the corporal and spiritual works of mercy – traditional expressions of love for one’s neighbour. Even more fundamental is telling people about the Person of Jesus Christ, his message of salvation, and his call to communion with God the Father in and through the Spirit. Therefore, let’s not be ashamed of the Gospel, but proclaim it boldly!

[1] John Paul II, Encyclical Letter on the Redeemer of Man: Redemptor hominis, Vatican: the Holy See website (Rome: 1979), § 1.

[2] Paul VI, Apostolic Exhortation on Proclaiming the Gospel: Evangelii nuntiandi, Vatican: the Holy See website (Rome: 1975), § 14.

 

(Copyright © 2014)