it is along the paths of daily life that you can meet the Lord! Do you remember how the disciples, hurrying to the banks of the Jordan to listen to the last of the great prophets, John the Baptist, saw Jesus of Nazareth pointed out to them as the Messiah, the Lamb of God? Out of curiosity they decided to follow Him at a distance. They were shy almost and embarrassed, until, turning round, He asked them: «What do you seek?» So began the dialogue that would give rise to the adventure of John, Andrew, Simon «Peter» and the other apostles (cf. Jn 1:29-51).
In this concrete and surprising encounter, described in a few, essential words, we find the origin of every journey in faith. It is Jesus who takes the initiative. When we have to do with Him, the question is always turned upside down: from questioners, we become questioned; «searchers», we discover that we are «sought»; He, indeed, has always loved us first (cf. 1Jn 4:10). This is the fundamental dimension of the encounter: we are not dealing with something, but with Someone, with the «Living One». Christians are not the disciples of a system of philosophy: they are men and women who, in faith, have experienced the encounter with Christ (cf. 1Jn 1:1-4).
We are living in an era of great changes: the rapid decline of ideologies that seemed to promise a long resistance to the wear and tear of time; the tracing out on the planet of new confines and frontiers. Humanity often finds itself uncertain, bewildered and anxious (cf. Mt 9:36). But the word of God knows no decline; throughout history and among changing events, it remains firm and gives light (cf. Mt 24:35). The faith of the Church is founded on Jesus Christ, the one Savior of the world, yesterday and today and for ever (cf. Heb 13:8). It gives Christ as reference for an answer to the questions rising up from the human heart in face of the mystery of life and death. Only from Christ, indeed, can there be answers that do not deceive nor disappoint.
FROM THE MESSAGE OF THE HOLY FATHER JOHN PAUL II, TO THE YOUTH OF THE WORLD ON THE OCCASION OF THE XII WORLD YOUTH DAY, PARIS 1997