The church plays a central role in the community life of the small town in this movie fable. It stands for tradition, for the way things have always been, and especially during the season of Lent when this story takes place, for self-restraint and sacrifice. At least that's the way the town's mayor sees it, and he's making sure the priest says as much from the pulpit. Just five weeks on the job, Pere Henri is young and inexperienced, so he preaches sermons the mayor has edited about the dangers of temptation, the threat to morality posed by outsiders, and even the evils of chocolate.
Until Easter morning. By then Pere Henri has seen enough to know that the life of this community is enhanced, not threatened, by diversity. He tells his surprised parishioners that he doesn't want to talk about Jesus' divinity this Easter. He is more interested in his humanity and what we can learn from his life on earth:
"We can't go around measuring our goodness by what we don't do. We measure goodness by what we embrace, what we create, and who we include."
That's as fine a summary of the Gospel message as we've heard in a long time.
To Practice: Be the one in your community encouraging people to embrace diversity and welcome strangers..
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