May 4, 2015

VATICAN CITY – In every relationship, including one's relationship with Jesus, it is important to remember the "first encounter," that initial, life-changing moment of love, Pope Francis said.

Celebrating Mass April 24 in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, Pope Francis used the First Reading's account of the conversion of St. Paul to begin a homily about a whole list of encounters Jesus had with individuals in the Gospels:

  • After John and Andrew met Jesus, they stayed with him “the whole evening” and became his disciples.
  • Simon became Peter, the “rock” on which Jesus built his Church.
  • One man with leprosy healed by Jesus came back to thank him.
  • A woman was healed by touching the hem of Jesus’ robe.

"Look at the many stories there (in the Gospel) and see how Jesus encounters people, how he chooses the apostles – all the encounters with Jesus there," the pope said.

Catholics should read their Bibles, paying special attention to those stories of encounters and look at details that might be similar to their own meeting with Jesus.

"This would be good homework: Think, 'When did I really feel the Lord close to me? When did I feel I had to change my life or be better or forgive someone? When did I meet the Lord?'"