Over 200,000 people from all over the world gathered in Rome to celebrate the Solemnity of Pentecost with Pope Francis on Sunday. The Mass was the concluding event of the two day pilgrimage of ecclesial movements, communities, and lay associations which was one of the many Year of Faith celebrations this year.
The Holy Father recalled the moment where the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples, giving them the strength to spread the Gospel.
“Newness always makes us a bit fearful, because we feel more secure if we have everything under control, if we are the ones who build, program, and plan our lives,” Pope Francis said. “This is also the case when it comes to God. It is hard to abandon ourselves to him with complete trust, allowing the Holy Spirit to be the soul and guide of our lives.”
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—God always brings newness—and demands our complete trust.”
Drawing from the examples of Noah, Abraham and Moses, Pope Francis said that the “newness” of the Holy Spirit brought the joy, serenity and courage to proclaim the Gospel to the disciples of Christ. However, the Holy Father called on the faithful to ask themselves if they are “open to God’s surprises” or if we are “closed and fearful before the newness of the Holy Spirit.”
“The Holy Spirit,” the 76 year old pontiff said, “would appear to create disorder in the Church, since he brings the diversity of charisms and gifts; yet all this, by his working, is a great source of wealth, for the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of unity, which does not mean uniformity, but which leads everything back to harmony.”
“In the Church, it is the Holy Spirit who creates harmony. Only the Spirit can awaken diversity, plurality, and multiplicity, while at the same time building unity. Here too, when we are the ones who try to create diversity and close ourselves up in what makes us different and other, we bring division. When we are the ones who want to build unity in accordance with our human plans, we end up creating uniformity, standardization. But if instead we let ourselves be guided by the Spirit, richness, variety and diversity never become a source of conflict, because he impels us to experience variety within the communion of the Church.”
Pope Francis reminded the members from all the various movements and ecclesial realities of the Catholic Church to always remain true to the Church, warning that when one embarks on a “parallel journey” that goes beyond the Church’s teaching, they “are not one with the God of Jesus Christ.”
Concluding his homily, the Holy Father emphasized the need for the Holy Spirit, comparing to the wind which fills the sails of the soul and drives it forward.
“The Holy Spirit,” the Pope concluded, “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 goodness of the Gospel.”
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On ZENIT’s webpage:
For the full text of Pope Francis’ homily, go to: