Jesus Christ, humble and poor, all-powerful - Jean Vanier
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Jean Vanier

Jesus is the One whom everyone is waiting for. Our world is waiting for a Saviour, our world is waiting for someone to give meaning to life. We see that people are discouraged. There is a yawning gap between the rich and the poor in many countries. I am thinking especially of Africa; there is civil war. In many countries of Eastern Europe there is poverty and unrest following the years of Communism. The same is true in Latin America where there is much poverty and human suffering and in all the countries there is a gap between the rich and the poor. The whole world is searching for a meaning, especially the young. Young people have lost the sense of life. They are waiting for the One who is to come and the One they are waiting for is Someone who will come to tell them: «I love you», «I trust you and I want to give you life, I want to give you freedom, I want to give a new meaning to your life». What impresses me most today is that many young people are not interested in knowing what is good, what is false what is true, they are expecting and they pose one basic question: «Do you love me?». So Jesus is the One who comes to say to each of us "I love you" and "you are important to me"; but he does not come on the wings of power (authority, force) or in glory. Jesus is the One who emptied himself, he is the One who did not cling to his own divine state which made him equal to God; he emptied himself, he became little, he became a child, a man crucified, rejected; he became poor.

It is true that at times Jesus became powerful, he worked great miracles but he feared that people would see in him the Powerful One who does great things instead of the One who seeks to give Communion. So Jesus becomes little, he is humble and this because we admire the powerful, but we love the little ones, the child, the person who is weak, fragile. So for me Jesus is the One who becomes little, he is God who becomes little, who hides in the poor, the humble, the weak, the dying, the sick; because all these people who are particularly fragile are longing for love and I see this as the mystery of Jesus and that Jesus is love. Just as God is Love. Jesus is Love. Jesus knelt down in front of his disciples, he washed the feet of his disciples saying: «I must give you an example so that you will do what I am doing». So I think the world is waiting for a saviour who is little and humble and who comes to give love. «Come to me all you who are weary and I will give you my rest, because I am meek and humble of heart». I think that the whole mystery of Jesus is contained in these words: «I bend over him like a font of mercy» because all he wants is to love, to give his heart and all that He asks of us is to offer our hearts, and to receive this mystery of God's love, the presence of Jesus. So for me Jesus is the One who is meek and humble of heart, who hides in the poor and who says, as we read in the Book of Prophets: «My son, give me your heart».

(Son of the Governor General of Canada, Jean Vanier - who today is 68 - was an officer in the Canadian Navy. He then studied for a degree and taught philosophy at Toronto University. He has devoted the last thirty three his life to helping mentally handicapped men and women from psychiatric hospitals, institutes or from the streets. He founded the Community of the Arche, which today has 105 centres in 30 countries, and the Faith and Light Movement. Jean Vanier was presented with the "Paul VI" prize by Pope John Paul II, in last June.)