What is the Good News? June 1, 1999
Evangelization - the process of proclaiming the good news. This is a very often used word in our Christian life. And by Christ's command, "Go into all the world, and preach the good news to all creation." (Mark 16:15), we, as his disciples should preach the good news. But comes the question, what is the good news?
I think, the good news is summed up in three words: God Loves You. What is the proof of this? To answer this, we go back to the story of creation.
When God created heaven and earth, he also created man. God also "breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being" (Genesis 2:7). God gave his breath to only one creature - MAN. And that was what made man very special because he had the Sprit of God. Because God loved the man so much, he put the man in a place where he would be able to live under the authority of the Spirit of God. While living in the Spirit, man enjoyed his work. Everything was provided to him by God. Man did not need anything, not even clothing - so that they did not even noticed that they were naked.. But as we all know, man sinned against God and we see later in scripture, man had to be driven out of the place God had prepared for him because he made a decision to reject God's authority. We are now doomed to die. We are cursed to struggle in life. There will now be unfulfilled needs - in short, we now live a life outside of the Spirit of God. With Adam's rebellion, we lost everything - except God's love. Because despite Man's rejection of God's authority, God still promised that he will one day unite himself with man when Evil is defeated.
So when Jesus surrendered his will to the Father and became man, this was the fulfillment of God's promise. Jesus died and the gates of heaven were open to man again. In St. John's account of the resurrection, Jesus appeared to the disciples and breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit" (John 20:22). What did Jesus do again? He breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit". Is this not what God did during creation? He breathed into (man's) nostrils the breath of life. Could this be that the resurrection of Jesus means the restoration of man before the eyes of God? The answer is YES! With the resurrection of Jesus, We are now reconciled with God and are now brought back to our original state during creation. And that is the good news.
That is why the death and resurrection of Jesus is the central point of our faith. In the Acts of the Apostles, we have three examples of the apostles' preaching (two by Peter - Acts 2:14-47 and Acts 3:11-26 and one by Paul - Acts 17:22-31). All these examples always have the same theme: God had promised a deliverer and this was fulfilled in Jesus. He was killed and God raised him from the dead. Because of his resurrection, the Spirit is now poured out to those who repent. And like official documents that are stamped with a seal, those who repent are sealed with the Spirit as a proof that they are reconciled and are reinstated to their original position with the Father.
I always liked one of the eucharistic prayer that goes, "Father, in love you created us, in justice you condemned us and in mercy you redeemed us." I think this sums up the good news. God loves us, he created us - we rejected him - but he redeemed us. God always extends his hand to us and if we are willing to take his hand, we are restored to our original state before his eyes. And this is the good news.
May we be able to "preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage - with great patience and careful instruction." (2 Tim 4:2)
In Jesus our Lord.
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