During my time at both Geneva [College] and Covenant [Seminary], it was quite apparent that the proclamation of the Cross of Christ as the basis of the world’s salvation was absolutely essential to both schools’ life and mission. Yet for all of the wonderful emphasis on this evangelical proclamation, I always felt like something was missing, something quite significant, that would bridge the gap between proclamation and reality. While it is true that the entire sacramental order serves to bridge this gap, the greatest and most formative discovery in my intellectual journey was how the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass makes present and sacramentally applies to the Church the redemption won by Jesus Christ. While in no way meaning to diminish the importance of verbal proclamation of the gospel, the Eucharist is far more than words, it is the reality of Christ Crucified in our midst, drawing His people to union with Him. For in the Eucharist, which is the Cup of the New Covenant and the Meal of the Kingdom (Luke 22:14-30), Jesus makes the eschatological covenant people of God into His Mystical Body (1 Corinthians 10:16-17). In receiving the body and blood of the Jesus, we participate in the Crucified One, and as Augustine teaches, we become what we eat and receive the grace to become crucified members of the crucified Lord, which is an essential condition for our final justification (Matthew 10:38-39, 16:24-27, Romans 8:17, Philippians 3:9-15, and 2 Timothy 2:8-13). For all of these interlocking reasons, I came to see through both Sacred Scripture and the patristic and scholastic consensus on the faith of the Church that forms the core of the Sacred Tradition, that it is in and through the life of the Church that the Kingdom of God is both present and advances throughout the world as the promised eschatological and international New Israel of the Davidic Messiah (Isaiah 11:10, Romans 15:12). Furthermore, as the visible instantiation of eschatological Davidic Kingdom, from the very beginning the Church has been led by the Bishop of Rome, who as the successor of Saint Peter, holds the Keys of the Kingdom which belong to the Prime Minister of the Davidic Kingdom (Matthew 16:13-25, Isaiah 22:15-22), and as Saint Irenaeus notes, due to the superior origin of this Church, all particular Churches must agree with her (Against Heresies, 3:3:2). Therefore it is the one divinely established apostolic institution of the Catholic Church that proclaims Christ through her faith, in her sacramental order, and in the various apostolates of her members, inviting all nations and peoples to salvation. In short, through the presence and life of the Roman Catholic Church, the Kingdom of Jesus Christ advances and in the process brings redemption to all of creation through spreading the peace and justice of Christ in word and deed.
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