06/09/2019, 12.40
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Pope: The Spirit is the first and last need of the Church

At Mass for Pentecost, Pope Francis emphasizes that the Spirit "is the one who changes" life of the Church and the world. He creates "harmony within  human beings" and also "outside, among human beings". "Without the Spirit, Jesus remains a character from the past; with the Spirit, he is a person alive in our own time. Without the Spirit, Scripture is a dead letter; with the Spirit it is a word of life. A Christianity without the Spirit is joyless moralism; with the Spirit, it is life”. "Without the Spirit, though, the Church becomes an organization, her mission becomes propaganda, her communion an exertion". "Let us pray to the Spirit every day." An appeal for peace in Sudan.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "The Spirit is the first and last need of the Church": this phrase of St. Paul VI is the synthesis of the homily that Pope Francis gave this morning in St. Peter's Square at Mass on the Solemnity of Pentecost, together to dozens of cardinals, bishops and priests.

Taking the example of the Apostles, who from fearful people, now "are no unafraid of dying"; from silent, now "they speak with parresia [courage]"; from "huddled in the Upper Room; now they go forth to preach to every nation", the pontiff affirms that the Holy Spirit "is the Person who is most concrete and close, the one who changes our lives.".

The Spirit changes by first of all creating "Harmony within human beings": " It is a harmony so profound that it can even turn persecutions into blessings". He frees us from "nervousness": "At today’s frenzied pace of life, harmony seems swept aside. Pulled in a thousand directions, we run the risk of nervous exhaustion and so we react badly to everything. Then we look for the quick fix, popping one pill after another to keep going, one thrill after another to feel alive. But more than anything else, we need the Spirit: he brings order to our frenzy. The Spirit is peace in the midst of restlessness, confidence in the midst of discouragement, joy in sadness, youth in aging, courage in the hour of trial".

"Without the Spirit - he continued - Without the Spirit, our Christian life unravels, lacking the love that brings everything together. Without the Spirit, Jesus remains a personage from the past; with the Spirit, he is a person alive in our own time. Without the Spirit, Scripture is a dead letter; with the Spirit it is a word of life. A Christianity without the Spirit is joyless moralism; with the Spirit, it is life.”

The harmony created by the Spirit is not only "within" human beings, but also "outside, among peoples": The Spirit is able to create unity among "different" people, "creatively, so that they are not all identical."

In the world marked by "a lack of harmony" that has become real "divisions", ", brings together those who were distant, unites those far off, brings home those who were scattered…He looks at individuals before looking at their mistakes, at persons before their actions. The Spirit shapes the Church and the world as a place of sons and daughters, brothers and sisters. These nouns come before any adjectives. Nowadays it is fashionable to hurl adjectives and, sadly, even insults. Later we realize that this is harmful, to those insulted but also to those who insult. Repaying evil for evil, passing from victims to aggressors, is no way to go through life. Those who live by the Spirit, however, bring peace where there is discord, concord where there is conflict. Those who are spiritual repay evil with good. They respond to arrogance with meekness, to malice with goodness, to shouting with silence, to gossip with prayer, to defeatism with encouragement".

"To be spiritual - he concluded - to savour the harmony of the Spirit, we need to adopt his way of seeing things. Then everything changes: with the Spirit, the Church is the holy People of God, mission is the spread of joy, as others become our brothers and sisters, all loved by the same Father. Without the Spirit, though, the Church becomes an organization, her mission becomes propaganda, her communion an exertion. The Spirit is the first and last need 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 BONAVENTURE, Sermon for the Fourth Sunday after Easter). Let us daily implore the gift of the Spirit. Holy Spirit, harmony of God, you who turn fear into trust and self-centredness into self-gift, come to us. Grant us the joy of the resurrection and perennially young hearts. Holy Spirit, our harmony, you who make of us one body, pour forth your peace upon the Church and our world. Make us artisans of concord, sowers of goodness, apostles of hope”.

At the end of the communion, and before the singing and the Easter prayer of the Regina Caeli, Francis made a brief appeal for the situation in Sudan, where the population, which has refused the dictator Omar al Bashir, finds itself today opposed by the army that took power. "The news we are receiving from Sudan is giving rise to pain and concern” the Pope said. “Let us pray for this people, so that violence may cease and the common good is sought in dialogue ".

The pontiff also recalled that yesterday in Krakow, the celebration of Blessed Michael Giedroyc, an Augustinian layman of the 15th century, "a model of humility and evangelical charity" was confirmed. The new blessed was Lithuanian, but he worked in Krakow. The ceremony was attended by Polish and Lithuanian bishops. "May this event - Francis commented - encourages Poles and Lithuanians to strengthen ties in the sign of faith and veneration to Blessed Michael".

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