Humanity and Salvation in Jesus Christ
God is Love and everything has its origin in this love. Out of his love, God created us humans in relationship with himself to enjoy life and eternal happiness with him. Made in his image, this love which gives us life also points to the dignity and meaning of all human life. Yet, led astray by false ideas, humanity in the persons of Adam and Eve chose their own desires over God and his plan, and a consequence of this Original Sin was a rupture in our blessed relationship with God who is the source of life.
Moreover, with God separated from human life by sin, the very understanding of what it means to be human is altered. Proper relationships not only with the Lord, but between human beings themselves are estranged, so that instead of harmony and charity to others, there is discord and exploitation of others. In this fallen condition, humanity also no longer walks in God’s light – we are instead impaired in our ability to know truth and to do good and avoid evil. We do not always live as we should and, with this sin, we suffer the inevitable wounds and hardship, including death.
History shows how people have tried to improve the human condition, but it is certain that we cannot save ourselves by our own human effort. It is as if we own a badly mismanaged family business and now we have an unbearable burden of debt. While technology, economics and material things have contributed a degree of progress, they are fleeting and will not save us from misery and death. Only the power of God can heal so great a wound and restore blessed harmony to human life in communion with him. The Good News is that, in Jesus Christ, God our Savior has come to do this.
However, in addition to the usual challenges throughout history of the human condition, now in our time we are confronted with a tsunami of secularism that has tossed people about and carried away recognition and appreciation of God, truth, the nature and dignity of the human person, the social structures of marriage and family, and the moral imperative – the very things humanity needs. The consequence is a diminishment in the ability of people today to hear and embrace that Good News.
It is against this background that we are called to a New Evangelization which reproposes Christ our Redeemer as the answer to a world mired in unhappiness, division, injustice and existential despair. While deepening our own faith, we must find new and better ways to bear witness to the truth that each of us is loved and we have the blessed hope of new and everlasting life. We need to show what it means to be more authentically human, which is to love and be loved in truth. Only to the extent that our identity as missionary disciples is realized can our neighborhoods, communities and world encounter and know the Savior who makes all things new.
This is the second in a six-part series on the New Evangelization.