By Vic Scaravilli

As Catholics, sometimes, we lose sight of the essentials of our faith. At times, we become more focused on the beliefs and theology of the Church and neglect to remember the most important component of our faith – Jesus Christ. Before we can understand what Christ taught, we must first know Christ, who He was and what He did for us. That is the “Basic Gospel Message.”

Children allowing Jesus into their heart and home

This message, or Kerygma, is not instruction or teaching of doctrine as is presented in a catechism or RCIA class, but a testimony, announcement, and proclamation of who Christ is and what He has done for you. It asks for a conversion of our heart so we can respond by dedicating ourselves to Christ and have a new life in Him. This is an essential component of being a Christian because everything else is built upon our love of Christ. Without it, our faith is dead.

It is one thing to know Christ exists and another to have a personal relationship with Him. When we personally know Him, following Him is out of love rather than obligation. Worship is not just an external act, but also something that comes from the heart.

To know God one must first have a personal encounter with Christ. When we realize Christ died for us out of His unending love for us, we can know and love Him more and make Him Lord of our lives. And when we have found Jesus, He will present the Father so we can know Him.

The Basic Gospel Message:

God is a loving Father. God is the source of all good things and the greatest of these is His personal love for each one of us. We are loved unconditionally and allowed a way for us to be reunited to Him in the course of salvation history. “Do not be afraid, I have called you by name, you are mine…You are precious in my eyes and I love you… do not be afraid, for I am with you.” (Isaiah 43:1-5)

Sin separates us from God. Sin, whether Original Sin or our deliberate disobedience to God, separates us from the love of God. Sin creates a wall that keeps us out of God’s family and its consequence of eternal punishment. “Everyone has sinned and is deprived of God’s glory.” (Rom. 3:23)

Jesus died for our sins. Christ’s death restores our relationship with God by bridging the gap that separates us from God. It was Christ out of His love who served the penalty for our sins when He sacrificed Himself on the cross. “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all men.” (1Tim. 2:5-6)

Jesus offers us eternal salvation. It was Christ who opened the gates of heaven for all. Everyone now has the opportunity to obtain the free gift of salvation. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 6:23)

Conversion and turn to Christ. We must ask Christ to be a part of our lives by accepting Him as our Lord and Savior. It takes an internal conversion of our hearts to say “Yes” to Christ and to place our complete trust in Him. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will enter the house and enter the house and dine with him, and he with Me.” (Rev, 3:20)

The Catholic Church offers seven sacraments to further experience the Lord by receiving His special graces. When we have accepted by faith the person of Christ as our Lord and have given Him complete adherence by a sincere conversion of heart, these graces become alive in us so we can love and serve the Lord and one another.

The Writings of Vic Scaravilli