Familiarity with Jesus


Reflecting on Jesus’ statement that the members of his family are “those who hear the word of God and act on it,” Pope Francis invited his listeners to reflect on the concept of familiarity.

To gain such familiarity one must be willing to enter “into the home of Jesus, to enter into that atmosphere…those who reside in the house of the Lord are free, those who have a familiar relationship with Him are free.”

Gaining familiarity with Jesus “also means standing with Him, looking to Him, hearing His Word, seeking to do it, speaking to Him.” Pope Francis makes clear that speaking to Jesus is to have a prayer life marked by a common language, an easy back and forth.

Finally, according to Pope Francis, familiarity with Jesus is gained by remaining “in the presence of Jesus, as He Himself counsels us at the Last Supper.” How much this reminds us that faithful, Sunday by Sunday, celebrating the Mass in remembrance of Jesus is a sure way to gain familiarity with the personality of Jesus.

Jesus desires a familiar relationship with each one of us. Such a familiarity is gained by spending time with him in daily prayer, reading the gospels, faithfulness to Mass, and being in the company of his friends, especially the poor and vulnerable.

How familiar am I with Jesus? Am I comfortable in his presence? Draw near to him who desires to be near to you!

(This reflection is based on Pope Francis’ homily for Tuesday, September 26, 2017).

Father Tony currently serves as pastor of Christ Church Newman Center in St. Cloud.

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