The Mystery of Sin and Salvation
them both to God in one body; in his own Person, he killed the hostility" (Ep 2:14-16).
Jesus of Nazareth, who is Peace, offered to human beings the vocation of peace: "Christ's peace must reign in your hearts, since as members of [his] Body you have been called to peace" (Col 3:15). The vocation of peace begins when a person is baptized: "All of you who have been baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with him. There does not exist among you Jew or Greek, slave or freeman, male or female. All are one in Christ Jesus" (Ga 3:27-28).
In his book, City of God, Saint Augustine provides the reason for founding a new social order - a New People of God: "It was God's good pleasure, by means of this City [of God], to subdue the whole world, to bring it into the single society of a republic under law, and to bestow upon it a widespread and enduring peace."
As the new communal order for social living, the initial Christian community made a profound impression upon non-believing observers: "winning favor with all the people" (Ac 2:47). Non-Christians (Jews and pagans) were impressed because, among the followers of Jesus of Nazareth, "there was one heart and soul in all the company of believers; none of them called any of his possessions his own, everything was shared in common" (Ac 4:32).
The Fathers of Vatican Council II emphasized that this new social order of peaceful living is the will of God: [God] has . . . . willed to make men holy and save them, not as individuals without any bond or link between them, but rather to make them into a people who might acknowledge him and serve him in holiness" (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, no.9).
Despite the never-ending faults of human beings, and the ongoing failure of political and social institutions to establish lasting communities of peace, Jesus of Nazareth exhorts everyone not to despair or be discouraged: "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me" (Jn 16:6).
John D. Meehan has been involved in the lay apostolate of the Catholic Church since the close of the Second Vatican Council. He resides in New Hampshire with his lovely wife Elizabeth.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Year of Faith, Catechism of the Catholic Church, John Meehan, sin, redemption, Christ, Jesus, Catholic Church, Grace
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