"I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day. No one should think that this invitation is not meant for him or her, since 'no one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord.'
"The Lord does not disappoint those who take this risk; whenever we take a step towards Jesus, we come to realize that he is already there, waiting for us with open arms. Now is the time to say to Jesus: 'Lord, I have let myself be deceived; in a thousand ways I have shunned your love, yet here I am once more, to renew my covenant with you. I need you. Save me once again, Lord. Take me once more into your redeeming embrace.'
"How good it feels to come back to him whenever we are lost! Let me say this once more: God never tires of forgiving us; we are the ones who tire of seeking his mercy. Christ, who told us to forgive one another 'seventy times seven (Mt 18:22)' has given us his example: He has forgiven us seventy times seven.
"Time and time again, He bears us on his shoulders. No one can strip us of the dignity bestowed upon us by this boundless and unfailing love. With a tenderness that never disappoints, but is always capable of restoring our joy, He makes it possible for us to lift up our heads and start anew. Let us not flee from the resurrection of Jesus; let us never give up, come what will. May nothing inspire more than His life, which impels us onwards!
- The Joy of the Gospel, Pope Francis, #3, 2013
At the very center of the Gospel message is the person of Jesus, and only by meeting him can we come to experience the fullness of life that we have been created for by God, the Father. All of us need to hear and be confronted with the truth of the Gospel message (the kerygma), the great story of Jesus:
- God loves us and made us for a relationship with him
- Sin has damaged our relationship with God
- Jesus came to restore our relationship
- Each of us is invited to respond to God through Jesus and say yes to the relationship God wants to have with us
Understanding that God loves us and desires our happiness is essential to understanding all that God has done throughout history to bring each and every person back into a relationship with him. Our relationship with God is like any good relationship. It requires that we come to know and trust the other person.