Encounter with Jesus




Pope Francis  26.04.20  Holy Mass Casa Santa Marta (Domus Sanctae Martha) Third Sunday of Easter        Luke 24: 13-35

Pope Francis God walks with us 26.04.20

Let us pray today, in this Mass, for all the people who suffer sadness, because they are alone or because they do not know what future awaits them or because they cannot provide for their family because they have no money, because they have no work. So many people who suffer sadness. We pray for them today.

So many times we have heard that Christianity is not just a doctrine, or a way of behaving, it is not a culture. Yes, it is all that, but more important and first of all, it is an encounter. A person is a Christian because he or she has met Jesus, he or she has allowed themselves to meet with him.

This passage of Luke's Gospel tells us about an encounter, how to understand well how the Lord acts, and how our way of acting is. We were born with a seed of restlessness. God wanted it like this: an anxiety to find fullness, an anxiety to find God. So often even without knowing that we have this concern our hearts are restless, our hearts thirsty: thirsty for an encounter with God. It looks for it many times on the wrong road: it gets lost, then returns, it looks for him . On the other hand, God thirsts to meet, so much so that he sent Jesus to meet us, to come and meet this concern.

How does Jesus act? In this passage of the Gospel (cf. Luke 24: 13-35) we see that he respects, respects our own situation, does not move forward. Only sometimes, with the stubborn, we think of Paul don't we? When he is thrown off the horse. But he usually goes slowly, respectful of our readiness. He's the Lord of patience. How much patience the Lord has with each of us! The Lord walks beside us.

As we have seen here with these two disciples, he listen to our concerns – he knows them! – and at some point he tells us something. The Lord likes to hear how we speak, to understand us well and to give the right answer to that concern. The Lord does not accelerate the pace, he always goes at our pace, often slow, but his patience is like this.
There is an ancient rule of pilgrims that says that the real pilgrim must go at the pace of the slowest person. And Jesus is capable of this, he does it, he does not accelerate, he waits for us to take the first step. And when the time comes, he asks us the question. In this case it is clear: "But what are you discussing?" (see v.17), he becomes ignorant to make us talk. He likes us to talk. He likes to hear us, he likes to talk like that. To listen to us and respond, he makes us speak, as if he was ignorant, but with so much respect. And then he answers, he explains, to the necessary extent. Here he tells us : ""Was it not necessary that Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?" And, beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he explained to them the passages in all the scriptures that were about himself." He explains and clarifies.

I confess that I am curious to know how Jesus explained in order to do the same. It was a beautiful catechesis. And then the same Jesus who accompanies us, who draws near to us, pretends to go further to see the extent of our disquiet: "No, come, come, stay with us a little" (v. 29). So the encounter happens. But the encounter is not only the moment of breaking bread, here, but it is the entire journey. We meet Jesus in the darkness of our doubts. Even in the ugly doubt of our sins, He is there to help us, in our anxieties. He's always with us.

The Lord accompanies us because he wants to meet us. That is why we say that the core of Christianity is an encounter: it is the encounter with Jesus. Why are you a Christian? Why are you a Christian? And many people don't know what to say. Some say it's by tradition but others do not know what to say: because they met Jesus, but they did not realize that it was an encounter with Jesus. Jesus always seeks us. All the time. And we have our own concern. When our concern meets Jesus, there the life of grace begins, the life of fullness, the life of the Christian journey.

May the Lord grant us all this grace to meet Jesus every day, to know, to know that he walks with us in all our moments. He's our pilgrimage companion.





Pope Francis  27.04.20 Holy Mass Casa Santa Marta (Domus Sanctae Marthae)   Monday of the Third Week of Easter      John 6: 22-29

Pope Francis Remember the First Encounter with Jesus 27.04.20
 

Let us pray today for artists, who have this great capacity for creativity and through beauty show us the way forward. May the Lord give us all the grace of creativity at this time.

The people who had listened to Jesus throughout the day, and then had this grace of the multiplication of loaves and saw the power of Jesus, wanted to make him king. First they went to Jesus to hear the word and also to ask for the sick to be healed. They stayed all day listening to Jesus without getting bored, without getting tired or being tired, but they were there, happy. But then when they saw that Jesus fed them, which they did not expect, they thought: "But he would be a good leader for us and surely he will be able to free us from the power of the Romans and take the country forward". And they were enthusiastic to make him king. Their intention changed, because they saw and thought: "Well ... a person who does this miracle, who feeds the people, can be a good leader." But they had forgotten at that moment the enthusiasm that the word of Jesus gave rise to in their hearts.

Jesus left and went to pray. These people stayed there, and next day they were looking for Jesus, "because he must be here" they said, because they had seen that he had not boarded the boat with the others. And there was a boat there, it stayed there . But they did not know that Jesus had joined the others by walking on the water. So they decided to go to the other side of the Sea of Tiberias to look for Jesus, and when they saw him, the first word they say to him was ( "Rabbi, when did you get here?", as if saying: "We do not understand, this seems a strange thing".

And Jesus makes them return to their first feelings, to what they had before the multiplication of the loaves, when they listened to the word of God: "I say to you: you are looking for me not because you saw signs - as at the beginning, the sign of the word, that excited them, the signs of healing - not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled." Jesus reveals their intention and says: "But this is how you have changed your attitude." And they, instead of justifying themselves: "No, Lord, no...", were humble. Jesus continues: "Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life and that the Son of Man will give you. For on him the Father, God, has set his seal." And being good they said, "What can we do to accomplish the works of God?" and Jesus says "Believe in the Son of God." This is a case in which Jesus corrects the attitude of the people, of the crowd, because they had gradually distanced themselves from the first spiritual consolation and had taken a path that was not right, a path more worldly than evangelical.

This makes us think that so many times in life we begin to follow Jesus, behind Jesus, with the values of the Gospel, and halfway there comes another idea, we see some signs and we turn away and conform with something more temporal, more material, more worldly, perhaps, and we lose the memory of that first enthusiasm that we had when we heard Jesus speak. The Lord always brings us back to the first encounter, to the first moment when he looked at us, spoke to us and aroused within us the desire to follow him. This is a grace to ask the Lord, because we in life will always have this temptation to move away because we see something else: "But that will be fine, but that idea is good...". We're moving away. The grace to always return to the first call, to the first moment: do not forget, do not forget my story, when Jesus looked at me with love and said to me: "This is your path"; when Jesus through so many people made me understand the path of the Gospel and not other somewhat worldly paths, with other values. Go back to the first encounter.

It has always struck me that among the things Jesus says on the morning of the Resurrection: "Go to my disciples and tell them to go to Galilee, there they will find me", Galilee was the place of the first meeting. There they had met Jesus. Each of us has our own "Galilee" within us, our own moment when Jesus approached us and said, "Follow me." In life similar things happen to us like what happened with these good people, and then they say to him: "But what should we do?", and they obeyed right away - it happens that we move away and look for other values, other ways of interpretation, other things, and we lose the freshness of the first call. The author of the letter to the Hebrews also reminds us of this: "Remember the first days." The memory, the memory of the first encounter, the memory of "my Galilee", when the Lord looked at me with love and said, "Follow me."