VATICAN CITY, JUNE 12, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Reflecting on the feast of Pentecost, Benedict XVI says that the Church has been catholic from the first moment of its existence.
The Pope celebrated Mass for today's feast of the Holy Spirit in St. Peter's Square. In his homily on the role of the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, he explained how the Holy Spirit created the Church as the "Church of all peoples."
The Church, he said, "embraces the whole world, she transcends all frontiers of race, class, nation; she razes all the bastions and unites men in the profession of God one and triune. From the very beginning the Church is one, catholic and apostolic: This is her true nature and as such she must be recognized."
The universality of the Church, the Holy Father said, is "not the fruit of the subsequent inclusion of diverse communities."
And its holiness, he continued, is "not due to the capacity of her members, but because God himself, with his Spirit, always creates her, purifies her and sanctifies her."
Benedict XVI also illustrated a phrase from the Gospel of today's liturgy: "The disciples rejoiced in seeing the Lord."
"These words are profoundly human," the Pope said. "The lost Friend is present again, and those who were frightened before now rejoice. But it says more than this. Because the lost Friend does not come from just anywhere but from the night of death -- and he passed through it! -- he is not just anyone but both the Friend and he who is the Truth that gives men life; and what he gives is not just any joy, but joy itself, the gift of the Holy Spirit."
"Yes," the Holy Father said, "it is beautiful to live because I am loved, and it is the Truth who loves me."
The disciples rejoiced because they saw Jesus and this expression on Pentecost is "also intended for us, because we can see him in faith," the Pope said."
"In faith he comes among us and he also shows to us his hands and side, and we rejoice in this," Benedict XVI stated. "So, we wish to pray: Lord, show yourself! Give us the gift of your presence, and we will have the best gift: your joy."
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