Pope Francis spoke on the third chapter of the Gospel of John on April 30, 2019, quoting the remarkable words of Jesus to Nicodemus: “You must be born from above”.
The Holy Father’s comments came during his homily at Mass in Casa Santa Marta in the Vatican. His words were reported by Vatican News.
Linking his message to Easter and the Lord’s Resurrection, the Pope recalled the fact that in the first apparition of Jesus to the apostles, on the Sunday of the Resurrection, the Lord breathed on them and said: “Receive the Holy Spirit”.
“This is our strength! We cannot do anything without the Spirit”, Francis said. Reminding those present that Christian life is not only about behaving well and doing the right things, the Pope said we can write our lives in “flourishing penmanship” but we are reborn only from the Spirit, therefore we must make room for it.
“It is the Spirit that allows us to rise from our limitations, from our deaths, because there are so many necroses in our life and in our soul”, he said. “A life, that may call itself Christian, but that leaves no room for the Spirit and does not allow itself to be carried forward by the Spirit, is a pagan life, disguised as Christian”.
The Pope explained that the Holy Spirit is the “protagonist of Christian life”. It is the Holy Spirit, he said, who accompanies us, transforms us, and overcomes sin with us.
“No one has ever ascended to heaven except He who descended from heaven: Jesus. He came down from heaven, and at the moment of the resurrection, he said to us ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’, the companion of Christian life”, Francis continued. “One cannot walk the path of a Christian life without the Holy Spirit”.