VATICAN: The best present in life is encountering Jesus — an encounter that will last a lifetime says, Pope Francis.
Pope Francis said in a homily: “A Christian’s whole life is an encounter with Jesus: in prayer, when we go to Mass, when we do good works, when we visit the sick, when we help the poor, when we think of others, when we’re not self-centered, when we are amiable.”
“We always encounter Christ in these things and the journey of life is exactly this: walking to encounter Jesus,” he said. Commencing Advent for the first time as pope, Pope Francis visited the parish of San Cirillo Alessandrino in a neighborhood on the outskirts of Rome.Prior to the Mass, he met with the ailing and children who just received their first Communion, accompanied by their parents along with children baptized in the past year. During his visit he also heard confessions from a few parishioners and met with an assemblage of young men he confirmed during the evening Mass. Pope Francis in his homily, asked the congregation if it were true that Church life ended with the sacrament of confirmation, saying he’s heard it’s also known as the “sacrament of adieu” because it’s often the last time people go to Church.
Encountering Christ is not a one-time event, “we encounter him every day,” he said.
However, some people, especially those who lived a life of sin, may think “How can I encounter Jesus. But, you know, the people Jesus tried to find most of all were the biggest sinners. While those who believed they were without sin would admonish Jesus for keeping company with sinners, Jesus would tell them, “I have come for those who need good health, who need healing.” When we sin, Jesus comes and forgives us in confession,” he added. “Do you want to meet Jesus in your life,” he asked the young men he was about to confirm. With the help of the Holy Spirit and the sacraments, “you will have more strength for this journey. Don’t be afraid,” he told them, “because the most beautiful present is encountering Jesus.”
While earlier, Pope Francis continued the papal tradition of celebrating sunset on the vigil of the first Sunday of Advent with students and professors from various universities in Rome. During this celebration he recommended young people to not be persuaded by public opinion, but to go against the surge by enduring and being faithful to their Christian values. “Don’t watch life go by from the balcony, but be where the challenges of the modern day world are. Whoever doesn’t respond to challenges are not living,” he said.