On this day in Lourdes, with Mary, accompanied by St. Bernadette, the prophet Isaiah invites us to rejoice. He promises us milk in a desert land and comes to us to comfort us. He comes to care for us, as a mother comforts her child.
The whole earth acclaims God, sings the Lord. The song of glory and praise is associated with our salvation history, which goes back to the day of creation, when God found the world good and on the last day he rested. On this day of rest, we celebrate God's wonders and give thanks. Last night I was with the pilgrims from Italy, trying to understand Peter's homily. Alas, everything was in Italy, I did not understand anything. To give thanks to God, it is not necessary to understand everything. It is enough to be there, to be simply present like Saint Bernadette, present before the altar of the Lord. Nothing is easy, Saint Bernadette was under pressure, ecclesiastical, civil and political pressure. St. John of the Cross was a prisoner in his monastery, and St. Teresa of Avila was considered crazy. Since their eyes were fixed on heaven, everything was simple.
The third point is more important to me, because it concerns us all; what can we do, or what should we do?
- We are all called and sent, not alone, but together. We know that working with our brothers and sisters is always difficult. We must know how to accept the difference and recognize the faith that dwells in the heart of each person we meet. May our human encounters be transformed, like a divine encounter. May God be the heart of every encounter.
- Let us be aware that the harvest is abundant and that we are only preparing the way like John the Baptist. We are not the ones doing the work. We are simply there to transmit the message received. It is the Lord who has worked to make the harvest ready to be reaped. We are invited to enjoy the Lord's work, to reap all that is before us as a precious gift from the Lord, including the people we encounter daily.
- What is the message? Peace. May we be bearers of peace, not in the human image, but in the divine image. Peace is like a baby. It grows in the hearts of the people who receive it. They will discover it later, when it has grown. We must know how to wait, like a gardener, and let the Holy Spirit act.
- The gospel begins with a deeper and more important message: Pray. The Lord asks us to pray, to establish an emotional relationship with God, like a father, or a brother, a friend, and why not like a mother? Everything is good for the Lord.
- The mission can be summarized in two words: Proclaim peace, for the kingdom of God has come near you. Everything is in God, by God and for God. May this moment of grace make you grow in faith, and may you bear much fruit, Amen.