At the outset of the public life of Jesus, Saint John the Baptist enthusiastically points him out to the crowds on the banks of the Jordan in these words: “Ecce Agnus Dei, ecce qui tollit peccata mundi” [Jn 1:29]. Look at this man, unlike all others. He is God’s sacrifice, who takes away the sin of the world.
In turn, Christ continuously offers himself to us as both victim and savior. As we examine his life, we do not find a self-centered, self-protective person who is always complaining of being tired and is reluctant to save the world. Rather, we see that his sole concern is redemption, regardless of its demands on him.
Jesus, our brother, contemplates what no one else has contemplated; Jesus, our brother, thus found true happiness and discovered his mission as well as the real meaning of life. He is deeply troubled to see such a vast number of his brothers and sisters searching in vain for what he has found. In anguish, he ponders how to teach them the truth and show them what nourishes every aspect of his life.
How can he convince them of this truth? You are well aware of the moving words he spoke upon seeing the huge crowd that had come in quest of him. He said to the Apostles: “Look at this needy crowd. They are like sheep without a shepherd” [cf. Mt 9:35–36].
One evening, Jesus was on the northern side of Lake Genesareth on the grassy plain, where he had been preaching all day. As he gazed out on the crowds, someone said to him: “Dismiss the crowds so that they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.” Jesus said to them, “There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves” [cf. Mt 14:1–16].
He was deeply moved at the sight of such consistently needy crowds. In touching words he spoke of the stray sheep: “The good shepherd, even if he is tired at the end of a long day at work, upon noticing that one of his sheep is missing, takes action. At once, he leaves the others and goes off over hill and dale in search of the lost sheep” [cf. Lk 15:1–10].
Still, again Jesus says: “…there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance [Lk 15:7].
We could continue citing scriptural texts, all of which reveal to us the human heart of Christ filled with love of God and with an older brother’s concern for the rest of his family.
Servant of God Père Jacques de Jésus
Retreat, Carmel of Pontoise, Conference 13
Saturday evening, 11 September 1943
Jacques, P 2005, Listen to the silence: a retreat with Père Jacques, translated from the French and edited by Murphy F, ICS Publications, Washington DC.
Featured image: Shepherds in the Caucasus guide a freshly shorn flock through the gate into their paddock. Image credit: Ihor Vesna / Adobe Stock
Leave a Reply