Jan 01
Many people talk about Jesus. In those days, they said: “John is risen from the dead… Elijah has appeared… one of the ancient prophets has arisen” (Lk 9:7-8). All those people respected Jesus, but they didn’t grasp his newness; they fit him into preconceived notions: John, Elijah, the prophets. Jesus, however, cannot be squeezed into the boxes of hearsay or déja vu. Jesus is always new, always. The encounter with him always astonishes, and if you do not feel that astonishment in the encounter, you have not encountered Jesus. So many people in Europe see the faith as déja vu, a relic of the past. Why? Because they have not seen Jesus at work in their own lives. Often this is because we, by our lives, have not sufficiently shown him to them. God makes himself seen in the faces and actions of men and women transformed by his presence. If Christians, instead of radiating the contagious joy of the Gospel, keep speaking in an outworn intellectualistic and moralistic religious language, people will not be able to see the Good Shepherd. They will not recognize the One who loves each of his sheep, calls them by name, and bears them on his shoulders. (Mass with the Council of Bishops’ Conference of Europe, 23 September 2021)