The Perspective of Justice

The Mission in the World

Having ascended into heaven, Jesus can now say that “I am in the world no more, but these are in the world.” He is not physically present in the world the way he was in the first third of the first century. It is now up to us to deal with the world.

During the period dominated by Trent and Vatican I, the Catholic Church was defensive in its approach to the world, which was regarded as an occasion of sin. Vatican II heralded a new approach based on dialogue rather than confrontation.

The world is viewed not as the enemy but rather as the object of service. This positive approach is much closer to our biblical roots: “I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.”

“Time is the unfolding of truth that already is.” The world and its history are where we encounter the eternal God, “reaching from end to end of the universe.” We are not called to abandon the world but to remain in it and to take responsibility for its well ordering. The paschal mystery is a challenge to us to lift the world to the heavens.

Holding faithfully to the gospel and exercising her mission in the world, the Church consolidates peace among men, to God’s glory. For it is her task to uncover, cherish, and ennoble all that is true, good, and beautiful in the human community

Vatican II, Constitution on the Church
in the Modern World, 1965: 76.

Gerald Darring

Now published in book form, To Love and Serve: Lectionary Based Meditations, by Gerald Darring This entire three year cycle is available at Amazon.com.

 

**From Saint Louis University

Kristin Clauson