GDC 102: Six Aspects of Jesus in the Gospel

GDC 102 draws out six aspects of catechesis derived from Jesus and his teaching, as we encounter it in the Scriptures.

102. In its drawing out the Gospel kerygma of Jesus, catechesis underlines the following basic aspects:

– Jesus, with the Kingdom, proclaims and reveals that God is not a distant inaccessible Being, “a remote power without a name” (Evangelii Nuntiandi 26) but a Father, who is present among his creatures and whose power is his love. This testimony about God as Father, offered in a simple and direct manner, is fundamental to catechesis.

Not a distant God, uninterested in the details of human life, but a parent. Jesus enjoys, speaks of, and preaches of his Father. We are not spectators to the relationship, but participants.

– Jesus shows, at the same time, that God, with the coming of his Kingdom offers the gift of integral salvation, frees from sin, brings one to communion with the Father, grants divine sonship, and in conquering death, promises eternal life.* This complete salvation is at once, immanent and eschatological, because “it has its beginning certainly in this life, but which achieves its consummation in eternity”. (Evangelii Nuntiandi 27)

* “This gift of Salvation confers on us, ‘justification’ by means of the grace of faith and of the Church’s Sacraments, This grace frees us from sin and introduces us to communion with God” (Libertatis Conscientia 52).

Being a daughter or son of God brings about two realities. There is the present aspect of our relationship with the Father: we are saved, we are freed from sin, we are offered communion. There is also the future/end times aspect: we are co-heirs with Christ, and like Christ, death will have no power over us.

– Jesus, in announcing the Kingdom, proclaims the justice of God: he proclaims God’s judgement and our responsibility. The proclamation of this judgement, with its power to form consciences, is a central element in the Gospel, and Good News for the world: for those who suffer the denial of justice and for those who struggle to re-instate it; for those who have known love and existence in solidarity, because penance and forgiveness are possible, since in the Cross of Christ we all receive redemption from sin. The call to conversion and belief in the Gospel of the Kingdom—a Kingdom of justice, love and peace, and in whose light we shall be judged—is fundamental for catechesis.

Many Catholics misunderstand the nature of justice. Instead, they might embrace charity as an adequate response to Christ’s call of Matthew 25. The kerygma–proclamation–of Christ suggests the believer enters into a similar relationship with those in need. And that our shared heritage with Christ implies each of us will be a locus of friction against those who insist on oppression, exploitation, and injustice.

Next we have two aspects of the Kingdom of God: Jesus begins it; the Church is the seed of it:

– Jesus declares that the Kingdom of God is inaugurated in him, in his very person. (Cf. Lumen Gentium 3 and 5) He reveals, in fact, that he himself, constituted as Lord, assumes the realization of the Kingdom until he consigns it, upon completion, to the Father when he comes again in glory. (Cf. Redemptoris Missio 16) “Here on earth the Kingdom is mysteriously present; when the Lord comes it will enter into its perfection”. (Gaudium et Spes 39)

– Jesus shows, equally, that the community of his disciples, the Church, “is, on earth, the seed and the beginning of that Kingdom” (Lumen Gentium 5) and, like leaven in the dough, what she desires is that the Kingdom of God grow in the world like a great tree, giving shelter to all peoples and cultures. “The Church is effectively and concretely at the service of the Kingdom”. (Redemptoris Missio 20)

– Finally, Jesus manifests that the history of humanity is not journeying towards nothingness, but, with its aspects of both grace and sin, is in him taken up by God and transformed. In its present pilgrimage towards the Father’s house, it already offers a foretaste of the world to come, where, assumed and purified, it will reach perfection. “Accordingly, evangelization will include a prophetic proclamation of another’s life, that is of (humanity’s) sublime and eternal vocation. This vocation is at once connected with and distinct from (our) present state”. (Evangelii Nuntiandi 28)

The human pilgrimage is not devoid of meaning. Even in this life, people will get glimpses of the “eternal” vocation of believers.

This would be one of those essay questions or discussion points for a college class. Can you identify the six aspects of catechesis, and perhaps take one or two and support it with two or three references in Scripture. Of course, your test would be open Bible.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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