Got News?

By Edo Da Pra

What are the Gospels? What would we say about the Gospels to a loved one who does not know Jesus? What is the essence of these books that changed the course of history? We must start by considering what the word “Gospel” itself means: it derives from old English “god spel” meaning “good news.”[1] What is this Good News that billions have made their own reason for being? What was so powerful in them that led thousands of missionaries to bring this Good News to the most remote and hostile parts of the earth? What was so precious in them for which it was and is worth being tortured and killed? The Gospels are first of all reliable, historical biographies of Jesus of Nazareth, a first-century Jew who claimed to be the Divine Son of the Almighty God. Two of His apostles (John and Matthew) and two who directly knew the apostles (Mark and Luke), decided after thirty years from the oral preaching and death of Jesus to write down His life and teachings. What were they so eager to write down? I would say that the Gospels bring a message with a twofold significance: an eternal and a temporal one. This Good News concerns our eternity and our current life.

The Good News is that Jesus, the Divine Son of God, came down to earth to rescue us, to save us from our sin[2] and to reconcile us with God.[3] What does this mean? What is sin, and why do we need to be saved from it? The Catechism defines sin as

“an offense against reason, truth, and right conscience; it is failure in genuine love for God and neighbor caused by a perverse attachment to certain goods. It wounds the nature of man and injures human solidarity. It has been defined as ‘an utterance, a deed, or a desire contrary to the eternal law.’”[4]

The Good News is that the root of all evil; the origin of all wickedness; the source of all our problems; the cause of all pain, sadness, desperation, suffering, hatred, selfishness, perversion, abomination and corruption; is defeated.[5] Jesus offers Himself as a sacrifice to pay back the debt that we incurred for our disgusting sins so that we can one day go to heaven instead of receiving our just eternal punishment. He paid our debt to God and saved us from eternal separation from Him.[6] Jesus then gives us His grace, His divine power, to fight the chains of sin that hold us away from accepting His sacrifice.[7] The Good News is that God, in the greatest act of unconditional love conceivable, decided to save us from the sin we freely choose every day.[8] The message does not stop here. We are not only saved from eternal separation from God, we are not only empowered by His Grace to choose Him and to abandon the chains of depravity so as to actually benefit from the gift of salvation that He purchased with His blood, but we are also saved for something, something truly incredible: perfect communion with God. We are saved to become part of the Trinitarian Family: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, three coequal persons in one nature.[9] We are saved to partake in the nature of the Creator of the universe, the origin, and end of everything that exists, in the nature of the ontologically perfect Being, in the nature of the source of all goodness, joy, love, beauty, consolation, fulfillment, in the nature of Being itself.[10] This is called the Beatific Vision.[11] It is the highest state possible in which a human can be. Any thinkable goodness that we can imagine now pales in comparison to what the beatific vision will be.[12] In heaven, there will be no pain, no suffering, no more tears, no more wounds. Every heart will be healed. There will be no more fear, no more despair. Everything that is wrong here on earth will disappear there.[13] Every desire will find perfect fulfillment. All achievements, accomplishments, and joys are just a mirror of the perfection and of the infinity that we will live in for eternity.

The Gospels also show us that God, the Almighty, the Alpha and the Omega, the Creator, Being itself, at whose command all angels promptly obey, loves us more than we can ever love ourselves. He loves us as a Father; He is more of a Father than any earthly one.[14] We are His adopted sons through His Divine Son, Jesus.[15] This is literally incredible: only grace can guide our souls to understand this perfect, unconditional, unblemished, personal, self-sacrificial and supernatural Love. God is the perfect Father. He brings forth His economy of salvation of humanity through divine pedagogy. He reveals Himself step by step, teaching us patiently how to restore communion with Him and with our fellow man.[16]

From His nature of perfectly loving Father, the Law of Love overflows and reaches our hearts through the proclamation of the Gospels. Now Love is what governs our actions, Love is the true nature of virtue and the foundation of our moral life.[17] We can obtain this love only by drinking from the fountain of Love itself, the Blood of Jesus in His sacrifice. If we respond and make ours this Love, and if we endure faithfully by participating in His plan of redemption and of glorification of humanity, we will partake in His divinity in our eternal life.

In addition to this, I can confidently assert that the Gospel, the Good News of Christ, is the superabundant answer to man’s longing for truth.[18] The Gospels are the Truth. They contain not some truth, they are the Truth, as the divinely inspired Word of God. Our thirst for answers; our struggle for meaning; our search for the transcendent, the beautiful, the incorruptible, is satisfied in marveling at and in reading through those lines that tell about that God-man from Galilee. Those words come alive in our hearts, they enter the caverns of our soul, and they bring Truth to our thirsting intellect.

The Gospels do not end by telling us about these breathtaking and astounding truths and promises. They show us that the Lord has left on earth a visible and tangible reality in which the whole of humanity is called to join: the Church.[19] It is an extension of the Trinitarian family. The Church is both a metaphysical and a physical reality. Through her, we are able to respond to His grace. We are able to be adopted in the Son and live according to the law of Love. In the Church, we become part of the Body of Christ.[20] We become part of God’s family. We are justified and sanctified through her sacraments. We are guided by her wisdom, presented with the divinely inspired truth, and allowed to live partially the eternal heavenly communion with God already here on earth. The Church connects heaven with earth,[21] God with the individual, the grace of Jesus with every thirsting and open soul, the Love of the Father to every broken heart, and the consolation of the Spirit to the outcast.

Here, where heaven and earth meet through the Church, we can clearly see the temporal significance; the earthly promises; the visible, tangible, earthly empowering acts of God for each of His creatures. The Good News is not only that Jesus came to save us from our sins and to bring us into the Trinity granting us the Beatific Vision, but it is also that Jesus empowers us, now in this very moment, with His divine love to partake in the infinite goods that we will receive once ultimately saved in heaven. We can live now partake in that final and infinite fulfillment, in that joy and supernatural consolation,[22] through the liberating power of the sacraments which Christ instituted and entrusted to His Church. Through the Sacraments, the restoration of our broken relationship with our fellow man, a life virtue, self-gift, sincere repentance, and prayer one’s relationship with God is healed and elevated.[24] The Good News is that we do not have to remain in our sin, in our addictions, in our selfishness. We can now, in this life, fall on our knees and cry to our Father asking for His saving help with a sincere and contrite heart. We can be free, free to do what we were created for, free to live according to our nature and beyond our nature.[25] We can refuse all the vanities of this world.[26] We can pursue a life of holiness and virtue that will lead us to real earthly happiness. 

In addition to this, the Gospels also deliver us from the seeming tragedy of every sadness, trauma, pain, and suffering.[27] Each one of these can be united in love to the sacrifice of Christ with the desire to conform ourselves to Him.[28] Each of these has a purpose. In Christ, we never suffer in vain, never alone, and never if not for our greater good. In Christ, there will be no more despair in this life, for Jesus will be our solid rock in the storm.[29] He will guide and protect us with His providence and will entrust us to the care of His Blessed Mother,[30] permitting what brings us closer to Him. In Christ, satan’s lies about life, morality, beauty are dispelled. In Christ, we finally have the Truth our hearts are longing for. When we face abandonment, rejection, and hatred, Jesus will always be beside us.[31] Christ is the second chance that nobody else is ready to give. No one is beyond God’s Mercy, which is unimaginably infinite and open to every sincerely contrite and repentant heart.[32]

This is the Good News, and God wrote it for you.

[1] http://www.wordorigins.org/index.php/site/comments/gospel/

[2] Matthew 1:21

[3] Colossians 1:21-22

[4] CCC 1849

[5] 2 Timothy 1:10

[6] Romans 4:25

[7] Romans 6:12-14

[8] Matthew 19:25-26

[9] Luke 13:29-30

[10]2 Peter 1:3-4

[11] 1 Corinthians 13:12

[12] John 17:13

[13] Revelation 21:4

[14] John 15:9-17

[15] Ephesians 1:5

[16] Galatians 3:24-26

[17] 1 Cor 13

[18] John 14:6

[19] Ephesians 4:4

[20] Colossians 1:18

[21] Revelation: 21:2

[22] John 15:11

[23] John 20:23

[24] Mark 11:24

[25] Galatians 5:1

[26] Ecclesiastes 1:2

[27] 2 Corinthians 1:3

[28] Romans 8:16

[29] Psalms 18:1-3

[30] John 19:27

[31] Romans 8:17

[32] Luke 6:36

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