Sunday, June 9, 2019

Mass for Pentecost in Rome

At 10:30am local time this morning in Rome (4:30am EDT), the Holy Father, Pope Francis celebrated Mass in Saint Peter's Square.  Cardinals, Bishops and priests were also present and concelebrated with the Pontiff.

During the Eucharistic celebration, following the proclamation of the gospel, the Pope shared the following homily.

Homily of the Holy Father, Pope Francis
during the Mass for Pentecost

Pentecost arrived, for the disciples, after fifty uncertain days. On one hand, Jesus was Risen, full of joy they had seen and listened to him, and they had also eaten with Him. On the other hand, they had not yet overcome doubts and fears: they were behind closed doors (cf Jn 20:19.26), with few perspectives, unable to proclaim the Living God. Then the Holy Spirit arrived and worries vanished: now the Apostles were not afraid even standing before those who arrested them; at first, they were worried about saving their lives, now they were no longer afraid of dying; at first, they were locked up in the Upper Room, now they proclaimed to all the people. Until the Ascension of Jesus they were expecting a Kingdom of God for themselves (cf Acts 1,6), now they were eager to reach unknown borders. Before they had hardly ever spoken in public and when they had done so they had often had trouble, like Peter denying Jesus; now they spoke with parresia (courage) to everyone. The story of the disciples, which seemed at the end of the line, is in short renewed by the youth of the Spirit: those young people who felt themselves to have arrived in uncertainty, were transformed by a joy that made them reborn. The Holy Spirit did this. The Spirit is not, as it might seem, an abstract thing; it is the most concrete, closest Person, the one who changes our lives. How does this happen? Let us look at the Apostles. The Spirit has not made things easier for them, it has not performed spectacular miracles, it has not taken away problems and opponents, but the Spirit has brought into the lives of the disciples a harmony that was lacking, his harmony, because He is harmony.

Harmony within all people. Inside, in the heart the disciples needed to be changed. Their story tells us that even seeing the Risen One is not enough if one does not welcome Him into the heart. It is not necessary to know that the Risen One is alive if one does not live like a Risen One. And it is the Spirit that makes Jesus live, live in us; it is the Spirit that resurrects us inside. This is why Jesus, meeting his own, repeats: Peace be with you (Jn 20: 19.21) and gives them the Spirit. Peace does not consist in fixing the problems outside - God does not take away from his tribulations and persecutions - but in receiving the Holy Spirit. This is the essence of peace, that peace given to the Apostles, that peace which does not free us from problems but the peace that in problems, is offered to each of us. It is a peace that makes the heart similar to a deep sea, which is always quiet even when on the surface the waves are rolling. It is such a profound harmony that it can even transform persecutions into beatitudes. How many times, instead, we remain on the surface! Instead of looking for the Spirit, we try to stay afloat, thinking that everything will be better if that trouble passes, if I don't see that person anymore, if that situation improves. But this has remained on the surface: once a problem comes, another will come and the restlessness will return. It is not by distancing oneself from those who do not think like us that we will be serene, it is not by resolving the trouble of the moment that we will be at peace. The turning point is the peace of Jesus, it is the harmony of the Spirit.

Today, in the haste that our time imposes on us, it seems that harmony is marginalized: pulled in a thousand directions, we risk bursting, prompted by a continuous nervousness that makes everything react badly. And we look for quick solutions, one pill after another to move forward, one emotion after another to feel alive. But above all we need the Spirit: it is He who puts order into the frenzy. He is peace in restlessness, trust in discouragement, joy in sadness, youth in old age, courage in trial. It is He who, among the stormy currents of life, fixes the anchor of hope. It is the Spirit who, as Saint Paul says today, prevents us from falling back into fear because it makes us feel that we are beloved children (cf Romans 8:15). He is the Comforter, who transmits to us the tenderness of God. Without the Spirit the Christian life is frayed, deprived of the love that unites everything. Without the Spirit Jesus remains a character from the past, with the Spirit he is a living person today; without the Spirit Scripture is a dead letter, with the Spirit it is the Word of life. A Christianity without the Spirit is a moralism without joy; with the Spirit it is life.

The Holy Spirit not only brings harmony within, but also outside, among men. It makes us the Church, it composes different parts in a single harmonic building. Saint Paul explains it well; speaking of the Church, he often repeats one word, different: different charisms, different activities, different ministries (1 Cor 12: 4-6). We are different in the variety of qualities and gifts. The Spirit distributes them with imagination, without flattening, without homogenizing us. And, starting from these differences, it builds unity. It does so, from the moment of creation, because it is a specialist in transforming chaos into cosmos, establishing harmony. The Spirit is a specialist in creating diversity, riches; each his own, different. The Spirit is the creator of this diversity and, at the same time, the Spirit is the One who harmonizes, who gives harmony and gives unity to diversity. Only the Holy Spirit can do these two things.

In the world today, disharmonies have become real divisions: there are those who have too much and there are those who are nothing, there are those who try to live one hundred years and those who cannot come to light. In the computer age we are at a distance: more social but less social. We need the Spirit of unity, which will regenerate us as the Church, as the People of God, and as a whole humanity. That will recreate us. There is always the temptation to build nests: to gather around one's group, one's own preferences, the like with the like, allergic to any contamination. And from the nest to the sect the step is short, even within the Church. How many times does someone defines his or her identity against someone else or against something! The Holy Spirit, on the other hand, connects the distant, unites those who are separated, brings the dispersed back. He blends different shades in a single harmony, because he sees first the good, he looks at the man before his mistakes, the people before their actions. The Spirit shapes the Church, shapes the world as places for children and brothers. Sons and brothers: nouns that come before any other adjective. Unfortunately, it is also fashionable to add insult. We can say that we live a culture of the adjective that forgets the noun of things; and also in a culture of insult, which is the first response to an opinion that I do not share. Then we realize that it hurts those who are insulted but also those who insult. Making bad for evil, passing from victims to executioners, one does not live well. Those who live according to the Spirit, on the other hand, bring peace where there is discord, concord where there is conflict. Spiritual men render good for evil, respond to arrogance with meekness, malice with goodness, noise with silence, chatter with prayer, defeatism with a smile.

To be spiritual, to enjoy the harmony of the Spirit, we must put the Spirit's gaze before our own. Then things change: with the Spirit the Church is the holy people of God, the mission is to sow the contagion of joy, not proselytism, toward other brothers and sisters who are loved by the same Father. But without the Spirit the Church is an organization, the propaganda mission, and communion is an effort. And many Churches make programmatic actions in this sense of pastoral plans, of discussions on all things. It seems that it is that road that unites us, but this is not the path of the Spirit, it is the path of division. The Spirit is the first and last needs of the Church (cf Saint Paul VI, General Audience, 29 November 1972). He comes where he is loved, where he is invited, where he is expected (Saint Bonaventura, Sermon for the fourth Sunday after Easter). Brothers and sisters, let us pray to him every day. Holy Spirit, harmony of God, you who transform fear into trust and closure into a gift, come into us. Give us the joy of the resurrection, the perennial youth of the heart. Holy Spirit, our harmony, You who make us one body, infuse your peace in the Church and in the world. Holy Spirit, make us craftsmen of harmony, sowers of good, apostles of hope.
Original text in Italian
Texte en français

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At the conclusion of the Mass celebrated in Saint Peter's Square for Pentecost Sunday, Pope Francis led the recitation of the Regina Caeli with the faithful and with pilgrims who were present in the Square.

Prior to the recitation of the Marian prayer, the Holy Father said:

Yesterday in Krakow, there was a thanksgiving celebration for the confirmation of the cult of Blessed Michael Giedroyc, in which the Bishops of Poland and Lithuania took part. This event encourages Poles and Lithuanians to strengthen ties in the sign of faith and veneration to Blessed Michael, who lived in Krakow in the fifteenth century, a model of humility and evangelical charity.

The news coming from Sudan is giving rise to pain and concern. We pray for this people, so that the violence ceases and the common good is sought in dialogue.

I greet all of you, pilgrims from Italy and from many parts of the world, who have participated in this celebration: groups, associations and individual faithful. I encourage everyone to open themselves with docility to the action of the Holy Spirit, offering the world, in the variety of charisms, the image of fraternity in communion.

May the Holy Mother of God to whose maternal intercession we entrust ourselves with filial trust, obtain this grace for us.

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