My Dear Sisters and Brothers! Movies like the one I have just told you about are not the easiest to watch. They don’t aim at entertaining us. Instead they confront us with realities which touch something deep in us. We are invited into the world of another human being, the world which is secret and sacred. It is the world where God’s hand is at work. Our Blessed Lord spoke about that in the Gospel passage for this Sunday: ‘For everything that is now covered will be uncovered, and everything now hidden will be made clear. What I say to you in the dark, tell in the daylight; what you hear in whispers, proclaim from housetops.’ Those words, which Jesus said to his Twelve Apostles upon sending them on their first mission, captures something awesome about being a missionary. A missionary is sent forth with his or her secret and sacred world where the hand of God is at work. Such a missionary is not a propagandist of success but a brother or sister of the other to whom he or she reveals how God works in the midst of human physical, spiritual, emotional or moral fragility. This is what the Apostles Peter and John said to the Jewish leaders who ordered them to keep quite: ‘We cannot stop proclaiming what we have seen and heard.’ This is what the people in the movie about Lourdes did as well. They bore witness about Jesus whom they saw and heard in their own life so profoundly marked by suffering. If you can I encourage you to watch it. The movie title is Lourdes. It was directed by Thierry Demaizière and Alban Teurlai.
If you are not into movies I encourage you to read chapter 7 of the Letter to the Romans. There you will have an insight into the secret and sacred world of St Paul the Apostle. He wrote about his own suffering: ‘I do not understand my own behaviour; I do not act as I mean to, but I do things that I hate… the good thing I want to do, I never do; the evil thing which I do not want – that is what I do… what a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body doomed to death? God – thanks be to him – through Jesus Christ our Lord.’ I believe that each one of us can benefit greatly from St Paul letting us into his secret and sacred world. His personal world marked by sin but the world which was also touched by God’s hand. Each one of us could accept these word and his or her.
I believe that meditating on these words we can transform our participation in the Sacrament of Reconciliation when we open up before the priest, who is in fact our fellow brother in Christ. Then we show him, our fellow brother in Christ, this secret and sacred world of ours marked by sin but where the hand of God is at work. The priest’s outstretched hand brings upon us God’s merciful love is reassuring us that we are not imagining that God is at work in our life. He is.