Pope Francis: Jesus was concerned with people, not popularity

Pope Francis meets with the Sisters of Mercy in Vatican City Sept 24 2016 Credit LOsservatore Romano CNA Pope Francis meets with the Sisters of Mercy in Vatican City, Sept. 24, 2016. | L'Osservatore Romano.

Jesus wasn't worried about his polling results, Pope Francis said Tuesday – instead, he was concerned with each and every person, seeing everything about them, even those things which were seemingly small or inconsequential.

"Statisticians might have been inclined to publish: 'Rabbi Jesus' popularity is falling.' But he sought something else: he sought people," the Pope said Jan. 31 during Mass at Casa Santa Marta.

"And the people sought him. The people had their gaze fixed on him, and he had his fixed on them."

People might be tempted to say, yes, Jesus looks on the people, "on the multitude," Francis said, but no, he looks on each individual person. "This is the peculiarity of Jesus' gaze," he explained. "He does not standardize people; He looks at each person."

In the book of Hebrews, it says to run the race of faith "with perseverance, keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus," he said, adding that Jesus is always near us, "always in the crowd."

"He didn't walk around with guards to protect him, so that the people could not touch him. No, no! He stayed there and people surrounded him. And there were more people around every time Jesus went out."

The Pope explained how Jesus' closeness helps him to see both the big things in our lives, and also the small.

"The gaze of Jesus falls on both the big and the small. That's how Jesus sees us all: He sees all things, but looks at each of us. He sees our big problems, our greatest joys, and also looks at the little things about us."

After Jesus raised the daughter of Jairus from the dead, and after he healed the woman who was hemorrhaging for 12 years, people were astonished, Francis said. Likewise, if we run "with perseverance, keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, we will be 'completely astonished.'"

"I go forward, looking at Jesus. I walk ahead, keeping my gaze fixed on Jesus, and what do I find? That he has his gaze fixed on me! And that makes me feel this great astonishment. This is the astonishment of the encounter with Jesus," he said.

"But let us not be afraid! We are not afraid, just as that woman was not afraid to touch Jesus' mantle. Let us not be afraid! Let us run down this road with our gaze ever fixed on Jesus. And we will have a beautiful surprise: He will fill us with awe. Jesus himself has his gaze fixed on me."

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