The most important question in all of history is the simple one posed by Jesus: “Who do you say that I am?” In his homily on Thursday the Pope posed a partial answer to the eternal question.
These, the Pope said, “were the voices that reached the people, and none of these voices had the power to warm the hearts of the people – But Jesus did! The crowds were amazed: They heard Jesus and their hearts were warmed. The message of Jesus reached to the heart.” Jesus, Pope Francis said, “approached to the people,” He “healed the heart of the people,” He “understood their difficulties.” Jesus, he continued, “was not ashamed to speak with sinners, He went out to find them,” Jesus “felt joy, He was happy to be with His people.” And this is why Jesus is “the Good Shepherd,” the sheep hear His voice and follow Him:
“And this is why the people followed Jesus, because He was the Good Shepherd. He wasn’t a moralistic, quibbling Pharisee, or a Sadducee who made political deals with the powerful, or a guerrilla who sought the political liberation of his people, or a contemplative in a monastery. He was a pastor! A pastor who spoke the language of His people, Who understood, Who spoke the truth, the things of God: He never trafficked in the things of God! But He spoke in such a way that the people loved the things of God. That’s why they followed Him.”
Jesus, the Pope said, “was never far from the people, was never far from His Father.” Jesus “was so joined to the Father, He was one with the Father!” and so was “so very close to the people.” He “had this authority, and this is why the people followed Him.” Contemplating Jesus, the Good Shepherd, the Pope said, it would be good for us to think about who we like to follow:
Go here to read the rest. There is much truth in this, although PopeWatch has always been struck by how few people followed Jesus while He walked among us. His career lasted three years and ended on a cross. Even with powerful miracles His movement appeared to be a brief one, swiftly and easily defeated. If it had been a human movement, Jesus today would be a forgotten figure from ancient history, cloaked in the forgetfulness that twenty centuries bring. Jesus planted powerful seeds, but it took grace and human effort and blood to bring them forth, inspired by the Resurrection and the Holy Spirit. We see in the work of Jesus on Earth that God wishes us to stand forth bravely for His truth, and that God does not wish us to be mere passengers on the road to salvation.