Celebrating Easter, as we continue to, Pope Francis talks about Christ as a friend.
This continues a main theme — perhaps the main theme — of Pope Benedict’s pontificate. He wanted us to know Jesus. This is even why he stepped aside.
Ultimately the point of a pope is to point the world to Jesus Christ. He’s the only reason for any of this. He is the answer to the questions. He is the healer of hearts. He is our hope. And it is in encountering Him daily that we will ever be anything close to Christian.
“Trust him, be confident that he is close to you, he is with you and he will give you the peace you are looking for and the strength to live as he would have you do.”
Now is the time for “Biblically literate and sacramentally formed Catholics, who have a clear understanding of their missionary vocation as baptized persons [to offer] their families, neighbors, colleagues, and fellow citizens the Gospel: friendship with Jesus Christ as the answer to the question that is every human life,” as John Paul II’s biographer, George Weigel, recently put it. We can’t do that unless we encounter Him ourselves, unless we embrace Him as He embraces us, as the best friend anyone could ever have, who allows us to see the world with the eyes of His heart, bringing that merciful, boundless friendship to others.
“Let the risen Jesus enter your life, welcome him as a friend, with trust: he is life!,” Pope Francis said. “If up until now you have kept him at a distance, step forward…he will receive you with open arms.”
“Take risk,” Francis urged, “you won’t be disappointed.”
So many people went to Church for Easter. At St. Matthew’s Cathedral in Washington, D.C., people were sitting along the altar, it was so packed.
This can be a new beginning.
One of the more encouraging things about the media lately is seeing an interest and even, at times, receptivity to the Church. During the conclave, there was this understanding that church built on Peter’s tomb might be about answers the world needs. We have an opportunity to share! But it has to be our reality — we have to have Christ, know Christ, to share Christ.
The Sacraments — the Sacraments! What grace they give. This is what the pope has been pointing to. This is what it is all about: Encountering Christ. Really and truly. Every day. Throughout our lives. This will be illuminating, uplifting, sanctifying.
Set out to pray. Drink in in His grace with love and fidelity. We need not be afraid. Have faith — simply acknowledge we need Him, He offers Himself to us. Begin again. Come home and stay awhile.
He always has His arms outstretched to us.