The term “Gospel” meaning “good news” is not explicitly limited to the four Gospel books of the Bible, as some might assume. The Gospel refers to the good news that these books summarize– that being the account of Christ’s life and His saving work.
The Gospel tells the good news about God’s love for us. Jesus Christ, God Himself, became incarnate, suffered, and died, to pay the penalty for our sins so that we may be redeemed by His sacrifice. Through Him, and his saving grace, we may be reconciled with God, and obtain eternal salvation.
By His life, Passion, Death, and Resurrection, Jesus, whose name means “God saves”, delivers us from our sins. As humans, we are broken and lost. We are corrupted by concupiscence, and all are guilty of sin. Sin is condemned by God because it is a direct offense against Him, Who is all-Good, and His perfect Law. Death and eternal separation from God is the just consequence for sin. We are all in need of healing and reconciliation, but the price to pay for our sins against an infinite God is so great that we could never satisfy the offenses ourselves. Jesus Christ, who is both God and man, in all purity and innocence, offers Himself as the perfect sacrifice in atonement and reparation to God for the sins of all humanity. By His sacrifice and triumph over death, Jesus saves us from the eternal punishment of our sins and He reconciles us with God.
The Gospel message is not only about our salvation from sin, but also about our purpose as human beings. Jesus reveals that we are made for love and beatitude. He tells us that the greatest commandments are to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength”, and to “love your neighbor as yourself”.
Throughout his teachings and ministry, Jesus makes known God’s infinite and merciful love for us. God loves each and every one of us unconditionally and desires us to grow closer in love with Him. In His divine mercy He sent His Son to be the expiation of our sins, so that we may be reconciled with Him.
Jesus Christ reveals His intimate relationship with God the Father, and also makes known God’s call to us for an intimate relationship with Him as His adopted children. God desires us to grow in communion with Him, and offers us grace–that is the life of God in our soul. He has humbled Himself so much as to open His inner life to us and grant us participation in it. In imitating Jesus, the Son of God, we are made partakers of the Son’s divine nature. By entering into communion with God and receiving divine sonship, we become children of God. We should therefore aspire to be good and holy in all ways, called to perfection, as the Son of God is perfect.
Being Love Himself, God calls us to love. Jesus makes this known throughout His entire life, but especially at His Sermon on the Mount. Jesus preaches about the Kingdom of God–the kingdom for which we were beautifully and wonderfully made. Throughout the Old Testament, a kingdom of God is foretold, and is awaited by His faithful people. Jesus tells us with gladness that the Kingdom of God is at hand. He teaches us that God’s Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom, but a heavenly one, which we can experience in our earthly lives by letting God reign in our hearts.
We are called to live a life of love and service, loving God by loving our neighbor, with the same generous, forgiving, and merciful love that God shows us. We were made for love–to love and be loved. We were made for a blessed and joyful community of brothers and sisters with God almighty. This kingdom of God begins here on earth, with each of us living a prayerful and holy life, allowing God to reign in our hearts.
The life of Jesus, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, gives us an example to follow of how to live out our vocation of filial and brotherly love. Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man, lives a perfectly holy life without any sin or impurity, and He calls us to imitate Him in all that we do. “Love one another as I have loved you.” (John 13:34) This love implies an effective offering of oneself, especially like Christ’s ultimate self-sacrificial love on the cross. The entire life of Christ, including His teachings and ministry, and most especially His Passion, Death, and Resurrection, is our example to follow so as to assure salvation. He calls us to live humbly and piously, obeying the will of God. Jesus has made known the truth of God’s commandments, and teaches us that Divine Law directs our lives to what is Good and Holy because it lovingly comes from the divine wisdom of God. By surrendering ourselves entirely to God’s will, not only will we find peace on earth, but will also be rewarded with life eternal with God in Heaven.
Jesus explains to us how to transform our lives to be virtuous and pleasing to God, with all our thoughts, words, and actions motivated by love. God desires us to live like Him, imitating His merciful and infinite love. We are called to live a life of charity, doing good and loving one another. In His teachings, Jesus instructs us how to live, and in His ministry, He demonstrates the power of the Kingdom of God in works of justice and mercy. He shows how to open our hearts to the Spirit of charity and humility, and preaches the importance of forgiveness. Our Lord explains how even anger or thinking ill of someone are sinful and demand reparation. He beckons us to love our enemies and to do good to those who persecute you. As children of God, we should strive to live as brothers and sisters united in love. By our affection and compassion, and love for our neighbor, we love and serve God. “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Mathew 25:40) Jesus teaches us that acts of faith, humility, mercy, and charity are all essential to bring about the kingdom of God. Blessed are the poor in spirit, the meek, the merciful, the penitent, the pure in heart, as well as those who sow peace or seek justice. When He preaches about beatitudes, Our Lord tells us that we are able to get a small taste of God’s glorious reign here and now, and He encourages us to rejoice for we shall receive blessings of eternal life with God in perfect beatitude in the age to come.
The Kingdom of God is present with Jesus Who embodies the reign of God himself. The reign of God begins with the ruling of God in our hearts, and so the Kingdom of God is visible in the Church, the mystical Body of Christ. The Church, founded by Christ Himself and guided by the Holy Spirit, helps us to accomplish our vocation to a loving relationship with God. As a community, all people who are willing to receive the grace that Christ offers, grow together in a sacramental life, glorifying God. The Sacrament of Baptism, where one renounces evil, and is cleansed of Original Sin, is necessary for one to receive sanctifying grace. Grace, the life of God in us, is essential for communion with God, and so for salvation. When we commit a grave sin, we are separated from God, but God waits for us, with His arms wide open. He desires us to come to Him, and if we repent of our sins and seek forgiveness, God is merciful. Our lives must be in constant conversion to God, for God is still our Judge. Christ stresses that there will come a time when repentance is no longer possible, and urges us to avoid sin at all costs. In the sacrament of Penance, God restores His grace in us. Jesus offers Himself to us in the sacrament of the Most Holy Eucharist, where in the Holy Mass, Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary is renewed. It is through this sacrament where we receive Christ’s Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, that we enter into holy communion with Him, and are strengthened by Him.
The Gospel message is ultimately the good news that Our Lord Jesus Christ offers redemption and salvation to all people. Jesus came, suffered and died for our sins, and He rose again on the third day in fulfillment of the Scriptures. Our Lord triumphs over sin and death and offers salvation and grace to everyone who repents and whose hearts are turned towards Him. God made each and every one of us, and so calls us, offering His gifts of grace through faith. He desires us to live as His beloved children. The good news is that God’s divine mercy and love are offered to us, and we are invited to accept His grace into our hearts. By our ongoing conversion to God, we grow closer to Him by living out our lives, imitating His holiness and love, by the power of His grace, so that we may enter into perfect communion and beatitude with Him for all eternity. This is the New Covenant offered to us in Jesus Christ.