Today we must proclaim our faith with new vigour in daily life. Here, I would only like to mention one aspect of the preaching Jesus, which is often omitted today: The proclamation of the Kingdom of God is the proclamation of the God present, the God that knows us, that listens to us; the God that enters into history to do justice. Therefore, this preaching is also the proclamation of justice, the proclamation of our responsibility.

Man cannot do or avoid doing what he wants to. He will be judged. He must account for things. This certitude is of value both for the powerful as well as the simple ones. Where this is honoured, the limitations of every power in this world are traced. God renders justice, and only he may ultimately do this.

We will be able to do this better the more we are able to live under the eyes of God and to communicate the truth of justice to the world. Thus the article of faith in justice, its force in the formation of consciences, is a central theme of the Gospel and is truly good news. It is for all those suffering the injustices of the world and who are looking for justice.

This is also how we can understand the connection between the Kingdom of God and the ‘poor,’ the suffering and all those spoken about in the Beatitudes in the Speech on the Mountain. They are protected by the certainty of judgment, by the certitude, that there is a justice.

This is the true content of the article on justice, about God as judge: Justice exists. The injustices of the world are not the final word of history. Justice exists. Only whoever does not want there to be justice can oppose this truth.

If we seriously consider the judgment and the seriousness of the responsibility for us that emerges from this, we will be able to understand full well the other aspect of this proclamation, that is redemption, the fact that Jesus, in the cross, takes on our sins; God himself, in the passion of the Son, becomes the advocate for us sinners, and thus making penance possible, the hope for the repentant sinner, hope expressed in a marvellous way by the words of St. John: Before God, we will reassure our heart, whatever he reproves us for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything’.1

God’s goodness is infinite, but we should not diminish this goodness to mawkish affectation without truth. Only by believing in the just judgment of God, only by hungering and thirsting for justice2 will we open up our hearts, our life to divine mercy.

This can be seen: It isn’t true that faith in eternal life makes earthly life insignificant. To the contrary: only if the measure of our life is eternity, then also this life of ours on earth is great and its value immense. God is not the competitor in our life, but the guarantor of our greatness. This way we return to the starting point: God.

If we take the Christian message into well-thought-out consideration, we are not speaking about a whole lot of things. In reality, the Christian message is very simple: We speak about God and man, and this way we say everything.

Pope Benedict XVI

 

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger: Address to Catechists and Religion Teachers, Jubilee of Catechists, 12 December 2000.
1 1 John 3:19ff
2 Cf.Matthew 5:6

This article can be found in Mirror 0415.