Sunday, May 31, 2020

Regina Caeli greetings for Pentecost

At noon today in Rome (6:00am EDT), the Solemnity of Pentecost, the Holy Father, Pope Francis appeared at the window of his study inside the Vatican Apostolic Palace to recite the Regina Caeli with the faithful and with pilgrims who were gathered in Saint Peter's Square.

Greetings of the Holy Father, Pope Francis
prior to the recitation of the Regina Caeli

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

Today, the Square is open, we can come back.  This is good!

Today, we are celebrating the great Feast of Pentecost, remembering the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the first Christian community. Today's Gospel (cf Jn 20: 19-23) brings us back to Easter evening and shows us the risen Jesus who appeared in the Upper Room, where the disciples had taken refuge. They were afraid. He stood in their midst and said to them: Peace be with you! (Jn 20: 19). These first words pronounced by the Risen Lord: Peace be with you, should be considered to be more than a greeting: they express forgiveness, the forgiveness extended to the disciples who, to tell the truth, had abandoned him. These are words of reconciliation and forgiveness. And we too, when we wish peace to others, are forgiving and also asking for forgiveness. Jesus offers his peace precisely to these disciples who are afraid, who find it hard to believe what they have seen, that is, the empty tomb, and who underestimate the testimony of Mary of Magdala and the other women. Jesus forgives, always forgives, and offers his peace to his friends. Don't forget: Jesus never tires of forgiving. It is we who tire of asking for forgiveness.

By forgiving and gathering the disciples around him, Jesus makes them a Church, his Church, which is a community reconciled and ready for mission. Reconciled and ready for the mission. When a community is not reconciled, it is not ready for mission: it is ready to discuss within itself, it is ready for internal discussions. The encounter with the risen Lord turns the existence of the Apostles upside down and transforms them into courageous witnesses. In fact, immediately afterwards he says: As the Father sent me, I also send you (Jn 20: 21). These words make it clear that the Apostles are sent to extend the same mission that the Father has entrusted to Jesus. I am sending you: it is not time to be locked up, nor to regret: to regret the good times, those times spent with the Master. The joy of the resurrection is great, but it is an expansive joy, which should not be kept to itself, this joy is meant to be given. On Easter Sunday we first heard this same episode, then the meeting with the disciples of Emmaus, then the good Shepherd, the farewell speeches and the promise of the Holy Spirit: all this is meant to strengthen the faith of the disciples - and ours too - in view of the mission.

And just to animate the mission, Jesus gives the Apostles his Spirit. The Gospel says: He breathed on them and said: 'Receive the Holy Spirit' (Jn 20: 22). The Holy Spirit is fire that burns away sins and creates new men and women; it is a fire of love with which the disciples will be able to set the world on fire, with the love of tenderness which favors the little ones, the poor, the excluded ... In the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation we received the Holy Spirit with his gifts: wisdom, intellect, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, fear of God. This last gift - the fear of God - is just the opposite of the fear that paralyzed the disciples before: it is love for the Lord, it is the certainty of his mercy and his goodness, it is the confidence to be able to move in the direction he points out, without ever missing his presence and his support.

The Feast of Pentecost renews our awareness that the life-giving presence of the Holy Spirit dwells in us. He also gives us the courage to come out of the protective walls of our upper rooms, our small groups, without resting in the quiet life or locking ourselves in sterile habits. Let us now raise our thoughts to Mary. She was there, with the Apostles, when the Holy Spirit came, a protagonist with the first community of the admirable experience of Pentecost, and let us pray that she obtain for the Church the ardent missionary spirit.

Following the recitation of the Regina Caeli, the Holy Father continued:

Dear brothers and sisters,

The Synod on the Amazon ended seven months ago; today, on the Feast of Pentecost, we invoke the Holy Spirit to give light and strength to the Church and society in the Amazon, which is being severely tested by the pandemic. Many people have been infected and many have died, even among indigenous peoples, particularly the vulnerable. Through the intercession of Mary, Mother of the Amazon, I pray for the poor and most defenceless of that beloved Region, but also for those around the world, and I appeal that no one is denied health care. Treating people, not saving for the economy. Treating people is more important than the economy. We people are the temple of the Holy Spirit, the economy is not.

Today in Italy the National Day of Relief is celebrated, to promote solidarity towards the sick. I renew my appreciation for those who, especially in this period, have offered and are offering their testimony of care for others. I remember with gratitude and admiration all those who gave their lives by supporting the sick during this pandemic. Let us pray silently for doctors, volunteers, nurses, all health workers and many who have given their lives during this period.

I wish everyone a good Pentecost Sunday. We need the light and strength of the Holy Spirit so much! The Church needs it, to walk in harmony, courageously witnessing to the Gospel. And the whole human family needs it, in order to get out of this crisis more united and no longer divided. You know that from a crisis like this one does not come out the same as before: one comes out either better or worse. May we have the courage to change, to be better, to be better than before and to be able to positively build the post-crisis world that will exist after the pandemic.

Please, don't forget to pray for me.  Enjoy your lunch and good bye to all of you who are here in the Square!
Testo originale nella lingua italiana

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