Today, we commence Chapter Four, exploring “The Vocation of Missionary Disciples To Holiness.” Paragraphs 129 through 152 will give us a window on the thinking of the Aparecida bishops as to this universal call to holiness. It may seem new to Catholics, but it is heavily referenced in the Bible, particularly the New Testament. We’ll call on major church figures to assist as well.
Let’s begin with the basics. Christ calls people. We respond. “Called To Follow Jesus Christ” is our first topic. It begins with the initiative of the Father, and the experience Israel knew as a communion with a living God:
129. God the Father goes out of himself, as it were, to call us to share in his life and glory. Through Israel, a people he makes his own, God reveals to us his project of life. Whenever Israel sought and needed its God, especially in national calamities, it had a singular experience of communion with Him who had led it to share in his truth, his life, and his holiness. Hence, it did not hesitate to attest that its God—unlike the idols—is the “living God” (Dt 5:25) who liberates it from oppressors (cf. Ex 3:7-10), who untiringly forgives it (cf. Ex 34:6; Sir 2:11), and who restores the salvation lost when the people, caught “in the snares of Sheol” (Ps 116:3), address Him in prayer (cf. Is 38:16). Jesus will say of this God—who is his Father—that he “is not God of the dead but of the living” (Mk 12:27).
The ministry of the Son has brought humankind to a new era, and the clarion call of Christ to his followers is to be holy:
130. In these last days, he has spoken through Jesus his Son (Heb 1 ff), with whom the fullness of time arrives (cf. Gal 4:4). God who is Holy and loves us, calls us through Jesus to be holy (cf. Eph 1:4-5).
For deeper examination, an English translation of the 2007 document from the Aparecida Conference.