Note: The use of GS and a number points to the paragraph in the council document on the Church in the World Today. GS refers to the Latin title of the document, Gaudium et Spes (Joy and Hope).
The final months of the Second Vatican Council were given to crafting a document reflecting the vocation of the Church in the world of today – a declaration of the Christian’s solidarity with the human family: ”the joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the people of this age, especially of those who are poor and afflicted, these are the joys and the hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ. Nothing genuinely human fails to rise in the hearts of the followers of Christ” (GS 1)
The desire of the council is to address itself without hesitation to the whole of humanity. “The council focuses its attention on the world, the whole human family along with the sum of those realities in the midst of which it lives; that world which is the theater of human history” (GS 2).
We are the Church – you and I – and this teaching affirms that the Church is wrapped up in human life and human history. This is an affirmation of what we believe of Jesus. Jesus became all that it is to be a human being – nothing of human life was foreign to Him:
5 Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
6 who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
7 but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
8 he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death—
even death on a cross.
9 Therefore God also highly exalted him
and gave him the name
that is above every name,
10so that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11and every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2).
Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, “born of a woman and born under the Law” is fully wrapped up in human history. And, Let us remember the Councils reminder: “Nothing genuinely human fails to rise in the hearts of the followers of Christ.”
Fr. Steve Adrian