Friday of the Fifth Week of Easter
If you have an important experience in your life, and you try to keep it secret, what does that say? Of course, some things are rightly kept private and withheld from broad public consumption. But what if you have some important experience which you keep secret even from your most trusted and intimate friends? It suggests duplicity and bifurcation. In the worst cases, it means people leading hidden lives.
Jesus did not want his disciples to keep their spiritual lives hidden in total secrecy. He wanted them to confess their sins to real live human beings, and he wanted them to gather in his name, at least two or three of them. For Jesus, the spiritual life has inescapably social dimensions, and this is something he inherited from Judaism. At mass today Psalm 57:10 is read: “I will give thanks to you among the peoples, O LORD, I will chant your praise among the nations.”
It is not enough to lock your door and to pray in your inner room, all alone. Yes, that practice is necessary and good, as our Lord himself has said, but it is not enough. When you have important experiences, such as realizations of God’s goodness to you or desires to give him thanks, it is not healthy to wall off those experiences from other people. It is much healthier to be open, to be with other people and to give God thanks in an assembly. This is part of the reason why the Holy Spirit inspires Christians to gather for worship on Sundays and holy days.