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When reflecting on the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, St. John Paul II could not help but think of what he called the, “Gospel of life.”
In fact, he wrote an entire encyclical with that title, Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life).
He begins his encyclical making a very bold claim:
The Gospel of life is at the heart of Jesus’ message. Lovingly received day after day by the Church, it is to be preached with dauntless fidelity as “good news” to the people of every age and culture.
St. John Paul II then continues by explaining how this could be possible:
At the dawn of salvation, it is the Birth of a Child which is proclaimed as joyful news: “I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Lk 2:10-11). The source of this “great joy” is the Birth of the Savior; but Christmas also reveals the full meaning of every human birth, and the joy which accompanies the Birth of the Messiah is thus seen to be the foundation and fulfillment of joy at every child born into the world (cf. Jn 16:21).
Heart of Jesus’ mission
He then connects this reality with Jesus’ teaching that every human person’s life has the same innate dignity:
When he presents the heart of his redemptive mission, Jesus says: “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (Jn 10:10). In truth, he is referring to that “new” and “eternal” life which consists in communion with the Father, to which every person is freely called in the Son by the power of the Sanctifying Spirit. It is precisely in this “life” that all the aspects and stages of human life achieve their full significance.
St. John Paul II then connects the mission of Jesus to the mission of the Church and the importance of preaching this “Gospel”:.
The Church, faithfully contemplating the mystery of the Redemption, acknowledges this value with ever new wonder. She feels called to proclaim to the people of all times this “Gospel”, the source of invincible hope and true joy for every period of history. The Gospel of God’s love for man, the Gospel of the dignity of the person and the Gospel of life are a single and indivisible Gospel.
As a result, the Gospel of life it not simply another “gospel,” but is intertwined with the entire Gospel of Jesus.
If you want to dig deeper into this profound mystery, check out St. John Paul II’s encyclical and see how important the Gospel of life is for every Christian.