The apostles had seen the risen Lord. Still, they were filled with fear and uncertainty — until Pentecost. Then, as Pope Francis explained, the Holy Spirit came and changed everything.
The Holy Father’s insights came in his homily on June 9, 2019 – the Feast of Pentecost – during Mass for the huge crowd of the faithful in St. Peter’s Square.
“Pentecost arrived, for the disciples, after fifty days of uncertainty,” the Pope said. “True, Jesus had risen. Overjoyed, they had seen him, listened to his words and even shared a meal with him.
“Yet they had not overcome their doubts and fears: they met behind closed doors (cf. Jn 20:19.26), uncertain about the future and not ready to proclaim the risen Lord. Then the Holy Spirit comes and their worries disappear. Now the apostles show themselves fearless, even before those sent to arrest them. Previously, they had been worried about saving their lives; now they are unafraid of dying.”
The Pope admitted that the Holy Spirit didn’t make things easier for the disciples. They still faced all manner of persecution and danger. But he brought them something vital: harmony.
” The Spirit brought into the lives of the disciples a harmony that had been lacking, his own harmony, for he is harmony,” Francis explained. “Harmony within human beings. Deep down, in their hearts, the disciples needed to be changed. Their story teaches us that even seeing the Risen Lord is not enough unless we welcome him into our hearts.”
The Holy Father warned that in today’s “frenzied pace of life” it is easy to lose harmony. People are pulled in many directions, become exhausted, look for “the quick fix” and even resort to drugs. In such circumstances, people need the Holy Spirit.
“Without the Spirit, our Christian life unravels, lacking the love that brings everything together,” Francis said. “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 Holy Spirit does not bring only harmony within us but also among us.”