05/19/2013, 00.00
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Pope to Movements: The action of the Spirit is newness, harmony, mission

At Mass for Pentecost, along with movements and lay associations, Francis asks believers not close in on themselves for fear the 'God’s surprises', defending ourselves " barricaded in transient structures which have lost their capacity for openness." The harmony of the Spirit brings unity, not exclusivism or standardization. "The Holy Spirit ... saves us from the threat of a Church which is gnostic and self-referential, closed in on herself" and " drive us to the very outskirts of existence in order to proclaim life in Jesus Christ." The final thanks of the Pope: "You are a gift and a treasure for the Church."

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The action of the Spirit is the bearer of the newness, not a "search for something new to relieve our boredom," but for "the surprises of God" of which we must not be afraid; his action creates the diversity of gifts, but also the harmony and unity of the Church, overcoming every particularism and exclusivism, and finally, "the Holy Spirit is the soul of mission", "that gives us the courage to walk the streets of the world bringing the Gospel ".

These are the three messages, with as many questions, that Pope Francis addressed in his homily for the Feast of Pentecost with the movement, new communities, associations and lay groups from around the world, who came as pilgrims to Rome for the Year of Faith.

In St. Peter's Square, filled with over 200 thousand faithful, dominated by the red color of the flowers, the decorations, vestments, symbols of the fire of the Spirit, the Pope recalled the episode from "that day so distant from us and yet so close as to touch the very depths of our hearts ", which took place in the Upper Room in Jerusalem and which is narrated in the Acts of the Apostles (2, 1-11).

"In light of this passage from the Acts - continued Francis - I would like to reflect on three words linked to the working of the Holy Spirit: newness, harmony and mission".

"Newness - said the Pope - always makes us a bit fearful, because we feel more secure if we have everything under control, if we are the ones who build, programme and plan our lives in accordance with our own ideas, our own comfort, our own preferences.  This is also the case when it comes to God.  Often we follow him, we accept him, but only up to a certain point.  It is hard to abandon ourselves to him with complete trust, allowing the Holy Spirit to be the soul and guide of our lives in our every decision.  We fear that God may force us to strike out on new paths and leave behind our all too narrow, closed and selfish horizons in order to become open to his own.  Yet throughout the history of salvation, whenever God reveals himself, he brings newness and change, and demands our complete trust: Noah, mocked by all, builds an ark and is saved; Abram leaves his land with only a promise in hand; Moses stands up to the might of Pharaoh and leads his people to freedom; the apostles, huddled fearfully in the Upper Room, go forth with courage to proclaim the Gospel.  This is not a question of novelty for novelty's sake, the search for something new to relieve our boredom, as is so often the case in our own day.  The newness which God brings into our life is something that actually brings fulfilment, that gives true joy, true serenity, because God loves us and desires only our good.  Let us ask ourselves: Are we open to "God's surprises"?  Or are we closed and fearful before the newness of the Holy Spirit?  Do we have the courage to strike out along the new paths which God's newness sets before us, or do we resist, barricaded in transient structures which have lost their capacity for openness to what is new?".

"It would do us some good to ask ourselves these question throughout the day", he added in unscripted remarks.

The last point is mission: "The Holy Spirit draws us into the mystery of the living God and saves us from the threat of a Church which is gnostic and self-referential, closed in on herself; he impels us to open the doors and go forth to proclaim and bear witness to the good news of the Gospel, to communicate the joy of faith, the encounter with Christ.  The Holy Spirit is the soul of mission.  The events that took place in Jerusalem almost two thousand years ago are not something far removed from us; they are events which affect us and become a lived experience in each of us.  The Pentecost of the Upper Room in Jerusalem is the beginning, a beginning which endures.  The Holy Spirit is the supreme gift of the risen Christ to his apostles, yet he wants that gift to reach everyone.  As we heard in the Gospel, Jesus says: "I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to remain with you forever" (Jn 14:16). It is the Paraclete Spirit, the "Comforter", who grants us the courage to take to the streets of the world, bringing the Gospel!  The Holy Spirit makes us look to the horizon and drive us to the very outskirts of existence in order to proclaim life in Jesus Christ.  Let us ask ourselves: do we tend to stay closed in on ourselves, on our group, or do we let the Holy Spirit open us to mission?".

"Let us remember these three words: newness, harmony, mission".

He concluded: " Today's liturgy is a great prayer which the Church, in union with Jesus, raises up to the Father, asking him to renew the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.  May each of us, and every group and movement, in the harmony of the Church, cry out to the Father and implore this gift.  Today too, as at her origins, the Church, in union with Mary, cries out:"Veni, Sancte Spiritus!  Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and kindle in them the fire of your love!"  . Amen!".

At the end of Mass, before the Regina Caeli, Francis thanked all those present, a crowd that by then stretched all the way down Via della Conciliazione, to the banks of the Tiber. "I would like - he said - to thank all the Movements, Associations, Communities and Ecclesial groups. You are a gift and a treasure for the Church! This is what you are! I thank in particular all of you who have come to Rome from all over the world. Always carry the power of the Gospel! Do not be afraid! Always have joy and passion for communion in the Church! May the Risen Lord be with you always and Our Lady always protect you. "

And Pope Francis concluded adding,: "Brothers and sisters, thank you so much for your love for the Church! Have a nice day and a good lunch."


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