At Vatican II, the Constitution of the Church in the Modern World, reflected that the difficulties our world experiences are not from individual sins, per se, but a Sinfulness that causes us to be off center. The story of Cain and Abel is about much more than jealousy and sibling rivalry. "Am I my 'brothers keeper' is a question that needs to be asked, articulated, and mulled over on an almost daily basis.
The Church gives us a plethora of social teachings, which hardly anyone knows about, that convey the dignity and respect afforded to all persons. These same teachings have a similar starting point. God created all things in love, and stated that they are good. More over we are made in the image and likeness of God, sharing in his grace and blessings. The Paschal Mystery re-affirms our worth and value as it opens for us the pathway to salvation and peace.
Like John the Baptist in today's readings we are challenged to recognize the Lamb of God. John is not soft and sweet. He is blunt in his assessment of the world around him. He refers to the religious authorities as a 'brood of vipers,' and reminds Herod that doing nasty things with his sister-in-law is not okay. See, john looks at the social climate at the time, where greed, the misuse of authority, unhealthy sexual relations, pride, and oppression, are all part of the social fabric.
John not only points to Jesus as the Messiah, but also ushers in a new era where justice, peace, reconciliation, and human dignity are central. The prophetic voice of John un-cloaks the Sin and sinfulness which had for so long hobbled men and women. On some of the message boards folks will decry that the Church should not be in politics. Perhaps it is the other way around. issues of dignity, respect, human life, poverty, and equality are really moral issues that the Church is mandated to speak on.
The Lamb of God commissions his Church to go out and share Good News. Our conversion and discipleship is also about a communal conversion. Our institutions and social settings are to seek justice and peace in their relations with God and others. We all have to be able to point out the Lamb of God who takes away the Sin of the world.