Aparecida 109-111: More On the Good News of Life

It is a misnomer that life as biological entities is the highest value. We live and move and have being in order to receive the living God into a living and personal relationship:

109. In the face of a meaningless life, Jesus reveals to us the inner life of God in its most elevated mystery, Trinitarian communion. Such is the love of God who makes the human being, pilgrim in this world, his dwelling place: “We will come to him and make our dwelling with him” (Jn 14:23). In the face of the despair of a godless world that sees in death only the final end of existence, Jesus offers us the resurrection and eternal life in which God will be all in all (cf. 1 Cor 15:28). In the face of the idolatry of earthly goods, Jesus presents life in God as the supreme value: “What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?” (Mk 8:36).47

If it were not for God’s initiative, our lives would still manifest something of the Creator. But without the Divine Presence, it would seem that the godless would be right: like animals and plants, stars and planets, the universe itself, we would all eventually shrivel up, come to our end time, and cease to exist. Is there something more? Or is a proper human impulse to go for everything we can get while the getting’s good? Jesus suggests not:

110. In the face of hedonistic subjectivism, Jesus proposes surrendering life in order to gain it, for “whoever loves life loses it” (Jn 12:25). Christ’s disciples characteristically spend their lives as salt of the earth and light of the world. In the face of individualism, Jesus issues a call to live and journey together. Christian life deepens and develops only in fraternal communion. Jesus tells us, “You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers” (Mt. 23:8). In the face of depersonalization, Jesus helps build integrated identities.

The Gospel path is not only life for others, but life together. This is the antidote to modern vectors of hedonism, materialism, greed, of being mere cogs in various machines–a clockwork universe, slaves to various bosses and addictions, and even our own dead-end impulses.

111. One’s own vocation, one’s own freedom, and one’s own originality are gifts of God for plenitude and serving the world.


For deeper examination, an English translation of the 2007 document from the Aparecida Conference.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in 2007 Aparecida document, bishops, evangelization and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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