Redemptoris Missio 15: Transforming Relationships

Human beings are social creatures. Yes, introverts, that means y’all too. Living in cooperation with beings of our own species and with other life is hard-wired into us. You can say it’s how God made us. You can say it is genetics, culture, or some natural or human-fabricated condition. But people of faith skeptical on the point will be confronted with the witness of the Bible and the saints.

One task of the Reign of God, our public policy, if you will, is that Jesus intends to restore human relationships to a virtuous and grace-filled equilibrium. We need go no further than his assertion that love is at the heart of God’s law:

The kingdom aims at transforming human relationships; it grows gradually as people slowly learn to love, forgive and serve one another. Jesus sums up the whole Law, focusing it on the commandment of love (cf. Mt 22:34-40; Lk 10:25-28).

His farewell discourse underscores this even more:

Before leaving his disciples, he gives them a “new commandment”: “Love one another; even as I have loved you” (Jn 13:34; cf. 15:12). Jesus’ love for the world finds its highest expression in the gift of his life for mankind (cf. Jn 15:13), which manifests the love which the Father has for the world (cf. Jn 3:16). The kingdom’s nature, therefore, is one of communion among all human beings-with one another and with God.

No other Biblical writer is as concerned with love as is Saint John. One hallmark of his Gospel is that Jesus is coming into the world to turn everything upside down. Literally. Jesus presents a new way on many fronts. Expectations about sin, virtue, illness, holy people, how God acts, and more–these are all stood on their head.

John Paul II sums it up:

The kingdom is the concern of everyone: individuals, society, and the world. Working for the kingdom means acknowledging and promoting God’s activity, which is present in human history and transforms it. Building the kingdom means working for liberation from evil in all its forms. In a word, the kingdom of God is the manifestation and the realization of God’s plan of salvation in all its fullness.

If we Christians are unable to make a convincing case for the manifestation of the Reign of God among skeptics and non-believers, we are simply not doing our job. Our witness in this regard needs to be strong, unwavering, and persuasive.

This document is available online here and is © Copyright – Libreria Editrice Vaticana


About catholicsensibility

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