Through the gospel message, the Church offers a force for liberation which promotes development precisely because it leads to conversion of heart and of ways of thinking, fosters the recognition of each person’s dignity, encourages solidarity, commitment and service of one’s neighbor, and gives everyone a place in God’s plan, which is the building of his kingdom of peace and justice, beginning already in this life. This is the biblical perspective of the “new heavens and a new earth” (cf. Is 65:17; 2 Pt 3:13; Rv 21:1), which has been the stimulus and goal for (humankind’s) advancement in history. (Humankind’s) development derives from God, and from the model of Jesus – God and (people) – and must lead back to God.(Cf. Populorum Progressio 14-21, 40-42; Encyclical Letter Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 27-41) That is why there is a close connection between the proclamation of the Gospel and human promotion.
While this is a “biblical perspective,” this can also be difficult to sort out in real life. Conversion must be more than just doing good deeds, especially doing good to another person. It must also move beyond what Pope Francis has termed “NGO” work. Can the missionary apostolate, however it manifests and wherever it is, place the kerygma, the proclamation of Christ at a recognizable center?
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