Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus! The Christian confession of faith is unique in many ways; but one stands out among others: God came to earth searching for us. Think of that! God sought us. This is the Good News. We call it the kerygma.

What, then, is the kerygma? It is the basic proclamation of the Gospel. Essentially Jesus Himself is the kerygma. He is the Good News we are called to proclaim. His very name means “God saves.” The kerygma is not an “optional contribution” for the Church but is the “first and fundamental way of serving” (EN 5; RM 20). When it is preached with parrhesia (boldness), it contains an explosive character with a unique power to awaken faith in those who listen. This is because it contains the Word, who is Jesus Christ, and the Life of the Spirit unto the glory of God for the salvation of souls.

John 3:16 is the most succinct scriptural summary of the kerygma, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” Contained within this passage are the five constitutive elements of the kerygma. These five elements can be remembered by the acronym GRACE, as St. Paul says, we are “saved by grace” (Eph 2:8).

For God so loved the world …

G – God’s love | God’s love is the “leading step” when proclaiming the Gospel. This love is personal, unconditional and eternal. It earnestly desires us to be in full communion with the God who is perfect Communion.

… that we might not perish …

R – Repent | We must repent for this communion to be received (Mt 3:2). Sin has separated humanity from God and has left us in a situation of enmity with him. “Personified evil” – the Devil – induced our first parents to sin by promising a false freedom that only led to slavery (GS, 2). If sin goes unrepentant, we will eternally perish.

… he gave his only Son …

A – Advent | But God did not abandon us. “God … sent his only Son” (Jn 3:16) to free us from this horrible fate. Through the Advent (coming) of Jesus, God came to seek and save the lost, forgive us of our sins, and bestow on us the grace of divine adoption.

… so that everyone who believes in him …

C – Confess | By confessing faith in Jesus, we personally commit to following him as his disciple. Cleansed by Baptism, made “one flesh” with Jesus through the Eucharist, and anointed by the Holy Spirit in Confirmation, we are gifted and inebriated. Our lives are visibly changed. We live differently as we share the message mercy, repentance and salvation (Mt 28:19).

... might have eternal life.

E – Eternal Life | Because of this, Jesus has opened the real possibility of eternal life to us. We are saved by the gratuitous act of Jesus Christ, who overthrows the effect of sin, routes the devil, and establishes the eternal Kingdom of God. We receive this eternal life by believing and following Jesus.

May you have a blessed Advent as you encounter your savior, who came from heaven to seek and save your soul.

Father Jarrod Lies, Pastor