Pope: Jesus gifts us the Paraclete, comforter and advocate
At Mass for the Feast of Pentecost, Pope Francis explains that the consolation of the Spirit is not like the "consolations of the world", "anesthetics" that "do not heal". Today is "the time of consolation": To proclaim the joy of the Gospel, not to "battle paganism" or the lament "secularization". Rather to seek "harmony in diversity", without opposing and excluding oneself to choosing between "conservatives and progressives, traditionalists and innovators, right and left". The Spirit makes "witnesses of God's today, prophets of unity for the Church and humanity".
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The Holy Spirit is "the definitive gift" of Jesus, whom he calls with the name of "Paraclete" which "means two things: Comforter and Advocate". Pope Francis thus began his homily at the Pentecost Mass that he celebrated this morning in St. Peter's Basilica, from the altar of the Confession. The faithful along the central nave observed the social distancing due to the pandemic.
From the Holy Spirit's characteristics of "comforter and advocate", the pontiff drew important consequences for the mission of the Church in the world. For example, the Pope stressed that this is "the time of consolation", and therefore it is time for a joyful proclamation of the Gospel, not for the "battle against paganism" or the lament against "secularization". Furthermore, since the Paraclete "pushes towards unity, concord, harmony of diversity", it is important to seek "the whole", not to oppose and exclude oneself to choosing between "conservatives and progressives, traditionalists and innovators, right and left".
In his homily, Francis first specified that the "consolation" of the Spirit is different from the "consolations of the world". These are "anesthetics", "they distract, but do not cure", "they do not cure the deep evil that we carry inside." Instead the Spirit is “the very tenderness of God, who does not abandon us; because being with those who are alone is already consoling ”.
“We too are called to testify in the Holy Spirit, to become Paraclites, comforters. Yes, the Spirit asks us to give body to his consolation. How? Not by making big speeches, but making neighbors; not with words of circumstance, but with prayer and closeness. The Paraclete tells the Church that today is the time of consolation. It is the time of the good news of the Gospel rather than of the fight against paganism. It is the time to bring the joy of the Risen One, not to complain about the drama of secularization. It is the time to pour love on the world, without marrying worldliness. It is the time to bear witness to mercy rather than inculcate rules and norms. It's the time of the Paraclete! "
The Pope then explained being the "advocate" of the Spirit, who "does not replace us, but defends us from the falsehoods of evil by inspiring thoughts and feelings in us". He then listed "three basic antidotes against as many temptations, widespread today", which are suggested by the Spirit.
The first suggestion is "Live in the present ... The Paraclete affirms the primacy of today, against the temptation to be paralyzed by the bitterness and nostalgia of the past, or to focus on the uncertainties of tomorrow and allow ourselves to be obsessed with fears for the future".
The second is "Look for the whole". "The Paraclete affirms the primacy of the whole. Overall, in the community the Spirit prefers to act and bring novelty. We look to the Apostles. They were very different: among them, for example, there were Matthew, a publican who had collaborated with the Romans, and Simon, called Zealot, who opposed them. There were opposing political ideas, different worldviews. But when they receive the Spirit they learn not to give primacy to their human views, but to the whole of God. Today, if we listen to the Spirit, we will not focus on conservatives and progressives, traditionalists and innovators, right and left: if the these are the criteria, it means that the Spirit is forgotten in the Church. The Paraclete pushes for unity, harmony, harmony of diversity. It shows us parts of the same Body, brothers and sisters among us. Let's look for the whole! ".
Finally, the third tip is “Put God before your self. It is the decisive step of the spiritual life, which is not a collection of merits and our works, but a humble welcome from God. The Paraclete affirms the primacy of grace ”. "If in the first place there are our projects, our structures and our reform plans, we will lapse into functionalism, efficiency, horizontalism and we will not bear fruit. The Church is not a human organization, it is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Jesus brought the fire of the Spirit to earth and the Church is reformed with the anointing of grace, with the power of prayer, with the joy of mission, with the disarming beauty of poverty. Let's put God first! ”.
The pontiff concluded with a prayer: "Holy Spirit, Paraclete Spirit, console our hearts. Make us missionaries of your consolation, paraclete of mercy for the world. Our advocate, sweet prompter of the soul, make us witnesses of God's today, prophets of unity for the Church and humanity, apostles founded on your grace, which creates everything and renews everything. Amen".