MANILA, Philippines, OCT. 24, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Here is the address delivered by Professor Jose Vidamor B. Yu of Manila, Philippines, during the world theological video-conference on “The Missionary Activity of the Church,” organized by the Vatican Congregation for the Clergy on October 4.
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The Liberation from Evil and Sin which is “caput et centrum” of the Gospel which develops with patience in the vicissitudes of time (EN 9).
Paul VI’s Evangelii Nuntiandi (On Proclaiming the Gospel) focused on the Church’s task of evangelization in the modern world. The exhortation was written on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council, the closing of the Holy Year, and the anniversary of the Third General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. It was on the social dimension and concern of the Church’s mission in society that highlighted the process of evangelization. The Church finds her duty to evangelize and as well to be evangelized in the midst of economic, social, and political changes unfavorable for true human development.
The Reign of God as Liberation from Sin
As Evangelii Nuntiandi occasioned the closing of the Holy Year, Paul VI reminds the faithful that at the heart of evangelization is the reign of God as a form of man’s liberation from “sin and the Evil One.” The modern world is inclined to favor the spirit of evil, violence, terror, hedonism, pornography, and the various forms of professed immorality. The kernel and center of evangelization is the proclamation of salvation through Christ. Evangelization proclaims the great gift of God which is the liberation from everything that oppresses man.
Man’s burden of sin comes at the personal and international level. Organized crime, drugs, prostitution, kidnappings, atheistic orientations and terrorism have been characterized as man’s alienation from God. The human person and human cultures have been wounded by personal and collective sin. Man realizes that he is in need of conversion, purification, and life in the light of the Gospel. The Church proclaims the power of the cross which reaches everything that is human and liberates him from what is destructible to both soul and body. It mission of proclaiming the liberating grace of the coss is God’s gift and healing process in man.
Liberation from Sin through Life and Death of Christ
The proclamation of liberation in man from sinful structures is the Church’s mission in the modern world. “Man as an individual and as a member of the society craves a life that is full, autonomous, and worthy of his nature as a human being.” (GS 9) It is in Christ’s life and death that this desire of fullness of life be achieved. The Church believes that the key, center and goal of man’s history are to be found in its Lord and Master. (cf GS 10) Man gains dignity in Christ ridding himself of all slavery to sin, passions, and indifference to God.
The proclamation of liberation is a proclamation of peace. Man’s desire for peace means liberation from psychological material bondages. The central theme of Christ’s mission was to seek and to save what was lost. (cf Lk 9:10) Thus, peace is the fruit of justice, love and solidarity. Paul VI spoke of development as a new name for peace. (Populorum Progressio,1967). The Church continues to reveal God’s plan, and the realization of the Kingdom of God through preaching and the celebration of the sacraments which makes Christ present in the world. The mission of making Him present in the world is the center of missionary activity of the Church.