St. Peter's Square
Wednesday, June 19, 2019
Catechesis on the Acts of the Apostles: 3. "Languages like of fire" (Acts 2: 3). The Pentecost and the dynamis of the Spirit that inflames the human word and makes it the Gospel
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
Fifty days after Easter, in that cenacle which is now their home and where the presence of Mary, mother of the Lord, is the element of cohesion, the Apostles live an event that exceeds their expectations. Gathered in prayer - prayer is the "lung" that gives breath to the disciples of all times; without prayer one cannot be a disciple of Jesus; without prayer we cannot be Christians! It is air, it is the lung of Christian life - they are surprised by the irruption of God. It is an irruption that does not tolerate the closed: it opens the doors through the force of a wind that remembers the ruah, the primordial breath , and fulfills the promise of "strength" made by the Risen One before his dismissal (see Acts 1,8). Suddenly, from above, "a roar, almost a wind that crashes down, and filled the whole house where they were" (Acts 2,2).
Then the fire is added to the wind which recalls the burning bush and the Sinai with the gift of the ten words (see Es 19,16-19). In the biblical tradition, fire accompanies the manifestation of God. In fire, God gives his living and energetic word (see Hebrews 4:12) which opens to the future; the fire symbolically expresses his work of heating, illuminating and testing hearts, his care in proving the resistance of human works, in purifying and revitalizing them. While at Sinai the voice of God is heard, in Jerusalem, on the feast of Pentecost, it is Peter who speaks, the rock on which Christ chose to build his Church. His word, weak and even capable of denying the Lord, crossed by the fire of the Spirit gains strength, becomes capable of piercing the hearts and moving to conversion. God in fact chooses what is weak in the world to confuse the strong (see 1 Cor 1:27).
The Church is thus born of the fire of love and of a "fire" that flares up at Pentecost and which manifests the strength of the Word of the Risen One imbued with the Holy Spirit. The new and definitive Covenant is founded no longer on a law written on stone tablets, but on the action of the Spirit of God who makes all things new and is engraved in hearts of flesh.
The word of the Apostles is imbued with the Spirit of the Risen One and becomes a new, different word, which however can be understood, as if it were translated simultaneously in all languages: in fact "each one heard them speaking in his own language" (Acts 2: 6). It is the language of truth and love, which is the universal language: even the illiterate can understand it. Everyone understands the language of truth and love. If you go with the truth of your heart, with sincerity, and go with love, everyone will understand you. Even if you can't speak, but with a caress, that is truthful and loving.
The Holy Spirit not only manifests itself through a symphony of sounds that unites and harmonically composes the differences but presents itself as the orchestra conductor who plays the scores of the praises for the "great works" of God. The Holy Spirit is the the creator of communion, it is the artist of reconciliation who knows how to remove the barriers between Jews and Greeks, between slaves and free, to make one body. He builds the community of believers by harmonizing the unity of the body and the multiplicity of the members. It makes the Church grow by helping it to go beyond human limits, sins and any scandal.
The wonder is so great, and someone wonders if those men are drunk. Then Peter intervenes on behalf of all the Apostles and rereads that event in the light of Joel 3, where a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit is announced. The followers of Jesus are not drunk, but live what Saint Ambrose calls "the sober intoxication of the Spirit", which turns prophecy through dreams and visions among the people of God. This prophetic gift is not reserved only for some, but for all those who invoke the name of the Lord.
From now on, from that moment, the Spirit of God moves hearts to welcome the salvation that passes through a Person, Jesus Christ, the One whom men have nailed to the wood of the cross and whom God has raised from the dead "freeing him from sorrows of death (Acts 2.24). It is He who has poured out that Spirit that orchestrates the polyphony of praise and that everyone can hear. As Benedict XVI said, "this is Pentecost: Jesus, and through Him God himself, comes to us and draws us into himself" (Homily, 3 June 2006). The Spirit works the divine attraction: God seduces us with his Love and thus involves us, to move history and initiate processes through which new life filters. Only the Spirit of God in fact has the power to humanize and fraternize every context, starting from those who welcome it.
We ask the Lord to let us experience a new Pentecost, which expands our hearts and tunes our feelings with those of Christ, so that we proclaim his transforming word without shame and bear witness to the power of love that calls to life all that it encounters.
Greetings in Various Languages:
Je salue cordialement les pèlerins de Suisse, de France et d'autres pays francophones, venant en particulier de Genève, de Paris et de La Guadeloupe. Alors que nous allons célébrer la fête du Corps et du Sang du Christ, je vous invite à donner a central place à la Eucharistie dans vos vies. Cest est nelle fait vivre de la vie du Christ. C est elle qui fait l'Eglise. Que Dieu vous bénisse!
[I cordially greet the pilgrims from Switzerland, France and other French-speaking countries, especially those in Geneva, Paris and Guadeloupe. The Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, which we are about to celebrate is an invitation to give a central place to the Eucharist in your life. It is the Eucharist that makes us live the life of Christ and makes the Church. God bless you!]
I welcome all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today's audience, especially those from England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Australia, India, Indonesia, Canada and the United States of America. My special greeting goes to the Hiroshima and Nagasaki Youth Peace Messengers from Japan. I also greet the winners of the traditional Bible Contest of the Holy Land. On the whole of you I invoke the joy and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ. God bless you!
[I welcome the English-speaking pilgrims present at today's audience, especially those from England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Australia, India, Indonesia, Canada and the United States of America. I greet in particular the Young Messengers of Peace of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, who have come from Japan. I also greet the winners of the traditional Biblical Competition in the Holy Land. Upon all I invoke the joy and peace of the Lord Jesus Christ. God bless you!]
Herzlich heiße ich alle Brüder und Schwestern deutscher Sprache willkommen. Der Heilige Geist macht lebendig und führt uns in Christus als seine Kirche zusammen. Lassen wir uns von seiner Kraft verwandeln, um das Heil des Herrn zu verkünden und seinen Frieden und seine Versöhnung zu bezeugen, die die Welt so sehr braucht. Der Heilige Geist erleuchte und führe uns allezeit.
[I address a cordial welcome to the German-speaking brothers and sisters. The Holy Spirit gives life and unites us in Christ as his Church. Let us allow ourselves to be transformed by its strength to announce the salvation of the Lord and to bear witness to his peace and reconciliation which the world so much needs. May the Holy Spirit enlighten us and guide us always.]
I pay cordially to los peregrinos de lengua española venidos de España y Latinoamérica; in a particular way to the pilgrims of the Diócesis de León, acompañados por su obispo, Msgr. Julián López Martín. I invite you to see the Señor experimenting a new Pentecosts in all the rooms, for the Parito clam dilate nuestro corazón haciéndolo semejante al de Cristo, y así podamos testiar to amor en medio del mundo y de las personas que nos rodean. Que Dios los bendiga.
Saúdo cordialmente os peregrinos de língua portuguesa, de especial way os grupos paroquiais do Rio de Janeiro and de Belo Horizonte and os fiéis de Aveiro: o Senhor vos encha de alegria and ilumine as decisões da vossa vida, para realizardes fielmente a vontade do Pai heavenly a vosso respeito. Rezai por mim. Não vos faltará a minha oração and Bênção de Deus.
[I cordially greet the Portuguese-speaking pilgrims, especially the parish groups of Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte and the faithful of Aveiro: the Lord fill you with joy and enlighten the decisions of your life, so that you faithfully fulfill the will of the heavenly Father about you. Pray for me; you will not miss my prayer and God's Blessing.]
أرحب بالحاضرين الناطقين باللغة العربية ، وخاصة بالقادمين من العراق ، ومن الأردن ، ومن الشرق الأوسط. "إن الروح القدس هو من ينقل باستمرار من العدم إلى الخليقة ، ومن الفوضى إلى النظام ، ومن الارتباك إلى الانسجام ، من التشوه إلى الجمال ، من العتيق إلى الجديد". ليبارككم الرب جميعا ويحرسكم دائما من الشرير!
[I warmly welcome the Arabic-speaking pilgrims, in particular those from Iraq, Jordan and the Middle East. "The Holy Spirit is the one who continually moves from chaos to the cosmos, from disorder to order, from confusion to harmony, from deformity to beauty, from antiquity to novelty". May the Lord bless you and always protect you from the evil one!]
Serdecznie pozdrawiam polskich pielgrzymów. Drodzy bracia i siostry, uroczystość Najświętszego Ciała i Krwi Chrystusa, którą będziemy obchodzić, jest szczególną sposobnością do ożywienia naszej wiary w rzeczywistą obecność Pana w Eucharystii. Celebracja Mszy św., Adoracja eucharystyczna procesje ulicami miast i wsi niech będą świadectwem naszej czci i przylgnięcia do Chrystusa, który daje nam swoje Ciało i Krew, aby karmić nas swoją miłością i uczynić nas uczestnikami Jego życia w chwale Ojca. Niech Jego błogosławieństwo stale wam towarzyszy!
[I cordially greet the Polish pilgrims. Dear brothers and sisters, the solemnity of the Sacred Body and Blood of Christ, which we are about to celebrate, is a special opportunity to revive our faith in the real presence of the Lord in the Eucharist. The celebration of Holy Mass, Eucharistic adoration and processions in the streets of cities and towns are the testimony of our veneration and adherence to Christ who gives us His Body and Blood, to nourish us with His love and make us participants of His life in the glory of the Father. May your blessing always accompany you.]
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I warmly welcome the Italian-speaking pilgrims. In particular I greet the faithful of Ostuni, the children of the First Communion of Martinsicuro, the parents active in the contaminated areas of the Veneto, the soldiers of the naval team of Santa Rosa.
I am pleased to welcome the young, the elderly, the sick and newlyweds, especially the couples of the diocese of Tivoli. The day after tomorrow we will celebrate the liturgical memory of Saint Luigi Gonzaga, an admirable example of austerity and evangelical purity. Invoke him to help you build a friendship with Jesus that enables you to face your life with serenity.
FULL TEXT + Image Source Share from Vatican.va - Unofficial Translation