When we can admit we are sinners, we are opened up to the astonishment of encountering Jesus. During his daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis underscored this as he celebrated today’s Eucharistic Celebration, which marks the feast of a doctor of the Church, St. Gregory the Great, reported Vatican Radio.
The Holy Father drew inspiration from today’s Gospel reading which recounts the story of the miraculous catch of fish. Peter spent a night working in the sea without catching anything, but after trusting in Jesus’ command, casts his net into the sea and has much success.
“This ability to say that we are sinners opens us to the astonishment of the encounter with Jesus Christ, the true encounter,” the Jesuit Pontiff stressed. “Even in our parishes, in our societies, even among consecrated persons: How many people are capable of saying that Jesus is the Lord? So many! But how difficult it is to say sincerely: ‘I am a sinner,’” he said.
“It’s easier to say it of others, eh? When one is gossiping, eh? ‘This, that, the other thing…’ We’re all doctors in that, aren’t we? To come to a true encounter with Christ the two-fold confession is necessary: ‘You are the Son of God, and I am a sinner’ – but not theoretically: ‘[I am a sinner] because of this, because of this, because of this, and because of this.’”
Pope Francis stated upfront how much it pleases him to think of how Jesus spent much of his time in the street, with the people, and then later in the evening, separated Himself for prayer. While still having his quiet moments of prayer, Francis pointed out how Jesus “encountered the people, He sought the people.”
Peter, Francis observed, quickly had forgotten the astonishment of his encounter with Jesus, and went on to deny him. However, because Peter was humble, the Holy Father noted, he was permitted to encounter the Lord: “When their eyes met, the Apostle wept and returned to the confession, saying, ‘I am a sinner.’”
Pope Francis concluded, praying the Lord grant us the grace “to encounter Him, but also to allow ourselves to encounter Him.”