Evangelii Nuntiandi 27: Salvation Offered To All

A good reminder that neither the Church nor its members chooses who will be evangelized and saved. God’s grace invites very soul. The question is: are we on board with the effort?

27. Evangelization will also always contain – as the foundation, center, and at the same time, summit of its dynamism – a clear proclamation that, in Jesus Christ, the Son of God made man, who died and rose from the dead, salvation is offered to all (people), as a gift of God’s grace and mercy.[Cf. Eph 2:8; Rom 1:16. Cf. Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaratio ad fidem tuendam in mysteria Incarnationis et SS. Trinitatis e quibusdam recentibus erroribus (21 February 1972): AAS 64 (1972), pp. 237-241] And not an immanent salvation, meeting material or even spiritual needs, restricted to the framework of temporal existence and completely identified with temporal desires, hopes, affairs and struggles, but a salvation which exceeds all these limits in order to reach fulfillment in a communion with the one and only divine Absolute: a transcendent and eschatological salvation, which indeed has its beginning in this life but which is fulfilled in eternity.

Salvation is begun by the events of evangelization. But evangelization itself is but the start of a “transcendant and eschatological” journey. What does that mean? Certainly not that believers are absolved of a certain urgency, an initiative to cast our nets. But we don’t have to rely on the finished product coming from our own hands either. The mystery of salvation might require we sponsor no conversions to Christ, but that we plant a lot of seeds, knowing that some of that effort will take root and others will reap for the Reign of God. The ultimate realization of the Reign of God will be realized not even if or when every human being acclaims Christ, but when we gather in the final fulfillment of God’s plan–whatever that looked like.

About catholicsensibility

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