Encountering Jesus

by Pope Francis

The joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. I invite all Christians everywhere to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them.

I ask you to do this unfailingly every day. No one should think that this invitation is not meant for him or her, since no one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord.

The Lord does not disappoint those who take this risk; whenever we take a step toward Jesus, we come to realize that he is already there, waiting for us with open arms.

Now is the time to say to Jesus, “Lord, I have let myself be deceived; in a thousand ways I have shunned your love. Yet here I am once more, to renew my covenant with you. I need you. Save me once again, Lord, and take me once more into your redeeming embrace.”

How good it feels to come back to him whenever we are lost!

The books of the Old Testament predicted that the joy of salvation would abound in messianic times. Perhaps the most exciting invitation is that of the prophet Zephaniah, who presents God with his people in the midst of a celebration overflowing with the joy of salvation. I find it thrilling to read this text:

The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives you victory. He will rejoice over you with gladness. He will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing, as on a day of festival (3:17)

Excerpted from Evangelii Gaudium, (The Joy of the Gospel), (2013), #1-5