06/04/2017, 13.45
Send to a friend

Pope: The Spirit is the Gift par excellence, making a new people and creating a new heart

During Pentecost Mass, Pope Francis noted that the universal Church is both diversity and unity. He slammed the temptation to "take sides and form parties”, to be “supporters for one side", and “become Christians of the ‘right’ or the ‘left’, before being on the side of Jesus, unbending guardians of the past or the avant-garde of the future before being humble and grateful children of the Church.” For him, “forgiveness is gift to the highest degree; it is the greatest love of all. It preserves unity despite everything, prevents collapse, and consolidates and strengthens.” At least 150,000 people were present at the service. A children’s choir from Carpi sang with disabled members miming the words. The pontiff announced his Message for World Mission Day, and mentioned the victims of last night’s London attack.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis celebrate Mass today, the Solemnity of Pentecost. In his homily, the pontiff said that the Spirit, "the Easter Gift par excellence," always achieves "new things", including two important novelties: "Spirit makes of the disciples a new people” and “he creates in the disciples a new heart”.

Pentecost, a celebration centred on the Holy Spirit sent the disciples 50 days after Easter, saw the participation of about 150,000 people, including many in Rome for the Golden Jubilee of Catholic Charismatic Renewal.

The pontiff mentioned two novelties brought by the Spirit: “A new people. On the day of Pentecost, the Spirit came down from heaven, in the form of “divided tongues, as of fire… [that] rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak in other languages” (Acts 2:3-4).  This is how the word of God describes the working of the Spirit: first he rests on each and then brings all of them together in fellowship. To each he gives a gift, and then gathers them all into unity. In other words, the same Spirit creates diversity and unity, and in this way, forms a new, diverse and unified people: the universal Church. First, in a way both creative and unexpected, he generates diversity, for in every age he causes new and varied charisms to blossom. Then he brings about unity: he joins together, gathers and restores harmony”.

“For this to happen, we need to avoid two recurrent temptations. The first temptation seeks diversity without unity. This happens when we want to separate, when we take sides and form parties, when we adopt rigid and airtight positions, when we become locked into our own ideas and ways of doing things, perhaps even thinking that we are better than others, or always in the right. When this happens, we choose the part over the whole, belonging to this or that group before belonging to the Church. We become avid supporters for one side, rather than brothers and sisters in the one Spirit. We become Christians of the “right” or the “left”, before being on the side of Jesus, unbending guardians of the past or the avant-garde of the future before being humble and grateful children of the Church. The result is diversity without unity. The opposite temptation is that of seeking unity without diversity. Here, unity becomes uniformity, where everyone has to do everything together and in the same way, always thinking alike. Unity ends up being homogeneity and no longer freedom. But, as Saint Paul says, “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Cor 3:17).”

“So, the prayer we make to the Holy Spirit is for the grace to receive his unity, a glance that, leaving personal preferences aside, embraces and loves his Church, our Church. It is to accept responsibility for unity among all, to wipe out the gossip that sows the darnel of discord and the poison of envy, since to be men and women of the Church means being men and women of communion. It is also to ask for a heart that feels that the Church is our Mother and our home, an open and welcoming home where the manifold joy of the Holy Spirit is shared.”

The second new thing is “a new heart. When the risen Jesus first appears to his disciples, he says to them: “Receive the Holy Spirit.  If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them” (Jn 20:22-23). Jesus does not condemn them for having denied and abandoned him during his passion, but instead grants them the spirit of forgiveness. The Spirit is the first gift of the risen Lord, and is given above all for the forgiveness of sins. Here we see the beginning of the Church, the glue that holds us together, the cement that binds the bricks of the house: forgiveness. Because forgiveness is gift to the highest degree; it is the greatest love of all. It preserves unity despite everything, prevents collapse, and consolidates and strengthens. Forgiveness sets our hearts free and enables us to start afresh. Forgiveness gives hope; without forgiveness, the Church is not built up.”

“The spirit of forgiveness resolves everything in harmony, and leads us to reject every other way: the way of hasty judgement, the cul-de-sac of closing every door, the one-way street criticizing others. [. . .] Let us ask for the grace to make more beautiful the countenance of our Mother the Church, letting ourselves be renewed by forgiveness and self-correction. Only then will we be able to correct others in charity.

“The Holy Spirit is the fire of love burning in the Church and in our hearts, even though we often cover him with the ash of our sins. Let us ask him: “Spirit of God, Lord, who dwell in my heart and in the heart of the Church, guiding and shaping her in diversity, come! Like water, we need you to live. Come down upon us anew, teach us unity, renew our hearts and teach us to love as you love us, to forgive as you forgive us. Amen.”

Almost to emphasise the diversity of gifts for unity, one of the choirs who took part in the Mass was a children’s choir from Carpi, at least half of whom disabled. During the offertory chant, some sang whilst others mimed the words, dressed in red and wearing white gloves.

After the communion and before the Regina Coeli, Francis announced the publication of his message for World Mission Day, which is celebrated every year in October. "The theme is the mission at the heart of the Christian faith. May the Holy Spirit support the Church's mission in the whole world and strengthen all missionaries of the Gospel."

The Holy Father also spoke about the victims of last night’s attack in London, on London Bridge and Borough Market, which left seven people dead and 48 injured. “May the Holy Spirit grant peace to the whole world,” Pope Francis said, and “may He heal the wounds of war and of terrorism, which even this [Saturday] night, in London, struck innocent civilians: let us pray for the victims and their families.”

Send to a friend
Printable version
See also
Church calls on families to be missionaries in secularised society, says Pope
Pope renews act consecration to Our Lady of Fatima
PIME dean celebrates 75 years of priesthood, entirely dedicated to China
"Mission: Bread broken for the life of the world"
Fr Etcharren, parish priest on the 17th parallel, dies in Huế
21/09/2021 16:27


Subscribe to Asia News updates or change your preferences

Subscribe now
“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”