During his daily morning Mass at the Vatican, the Pope talked about how Christians should prepare for Christmas.
Reflecting on today's Gospel, where a Roman officer, asks Jesus to save his servant, Pope Francis said it's not enough to seek out Christ. One must also be willing to be found by Him.
"Christmas is an encounter! It's a journey to encounter Him, to find Him through our hearts and our lives. To find the living God and to find Him through faith. It's not easy to live with faith. In today's Gospel, the Lord was struck by the faith of this centurion. He was moved by his faith. He had embarked on a journey to encounter the Lord, but it was a journey of faith. So, he not only found the Lord, but he also felt the joy of being found by the Lord. This is precisely the encounter we seek. An encounter of faith.”
And to actually have an encounter with Jesus, the Pope highlighted three points. He said one must pray more, increase charity and treat others with love and joy.
SUMMARY OF POPE'S HOMILY
Source: Vatican Radio
In his homily at the Santa Marta guesthouse on this, the first Monday of Advent, Pope Francis recalled that as we proceed towards Christmas, we embark on a journey of faith and prayer in preparation for our encounter with the Lord. "Because Christmas,” he said, isn’t just a temporal celebration or the memory of a beautiful (event).”
"Christmas is something more,” he said, "Christmas is an encounter” with the Lord. And as we make our way towards Him, we must go with open heart and faith, even though this is not always easy.
Speaking of today’s reading about the Roman centurion, who with great faith begs the Lord to heal his slave, the Pope said we are like this centurion on a pilgrimage of faith "to encounter the Lord and most of all, to allow ourselves to be encountered by Him.”
We must allow ourselves to be encountered by Him, the Pope repeated, to allow Him to enter us. "It is He who makes all new….Christ renews the heart, the soul , life, hope…”
The Lord does not always say to us what we want to hear, noted the Pope, but: He will tell me what is meant for me "because the Lord does not look at us all together, en mass.” "He looks each one of us in the face , in the eyes.” His is not an abstract love; "it is concrete," the Pope said. The Lord looks at me in a personal way. And "letting ourselves be encountered by God means just this: letting ourselves be loved by God!”