SOLEMNITY OF PENTECOST
POPE FRANCIS at the REGINA CAELI
St. Peter's Square - Sunday, May 23, 2021
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
The book of the Acts of the Apostles (cf. 2,1-11) narrates what happened in Jerusalem fifty days after the Passover of Jesus. The disciples were gathered in the Upper Room and with them was the Virgin Mary. The risen Lord had told them to stay in the city until they received the gift of the Spirit from on high. And this manifested itself with a "roar" that suddenly came from heaven, like a "rushing wind" that filled the house where they were (cf. v. 2). It is therefore a real experience but also a symbolic one.
One thing that has happened but also gives us a symbolic message for life.
This experience reveals that the Holy Spirit is like a strong and free wind, that is, it brings us strength and brings us freedom: strong and free wind. It cannot be controlled, stopped, or measured; nor does it predict its direction. It does not allow itself to be framed in our human needs - we always try to frame things - it does not allow itself to be framed in our patterns and our prejudices. The Spirit proceeds from God the Father and from his Son Jesus Christ and bursts upon the Church, bursts upon each of us, giving life to our minds and hearts. As the Creed says: "He is Lord and gives life". He has lordship because he is God, and he gives life.
On the day of Pentecost, Jesus' disciples were still bewildered and afraid. They still didn't have the courage to come out. And we too, it happens sometimes, prefer to stay within the protective walls of our environments. But the Lord knows how to reach us and open the doors of our heart. He sends the Holy Spirit upon us who envelops us and overcomes all our hesitations, breaks down our defenses, dismantles our false certainties. The Spirit makes us new creatures, just as he did that day with the Apostles: he renews us, new creatures.
They, after receiving the Holy Spirit, were no longer the same as before - he changed them - but they went out, they went out without fear and began to preach Jesus, to preach that Jesus is risen, that the Lord is with us, in such a way that everyone he understood them in his own language. Because the Spirit is universal, it does not take away cultural differences, differences of thought, no, it is for everyone, but everyone understands it in their own culture, in their own language. The Spirit changes the heart, widens the eyes of the disciples. It enables them to communicate the great works of God to everyone, without limits, going beyond the cultural and religious boundaries within which they were used to thinking and living. The Apostles enables them to reach out to others while respecting their possibilities of listening and understanding, in the culture and language of each one (vv. 5-11). In other words, the Holy Spirit puts different people in communication, realizing the unity and universality of the Church.
And today this truth tells us so much, this reality of the Holy Spirit, where in the Church there are small groups that are always seeking division, to detach themselves from others. This is not the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God is harmony, it is unity, it unites differences. A good Cardinal, who was Archbishop of Genoa, used to say that the Church is like a river: the important thing is to stay inside; if you stay a little on that side and a little on that other side it doesn't matter, the Holy Spirit creates unity. He used the figure of the river. The important thing is to stay within the unity of the Spirit and not look at the little things that you are a little on this side and a little on that side, whether you pray in this way or that ... This is not of God. The Church is for everyone, for everyone, as the Holy Spirit showed on the day of Pentecost.
Today we ask the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, to intercede so that the Holy Spirit may descend in abundance and fill the hearts of the faithful and kindle the fire of his love in all.
After the Regina Caeli
Dear brothers and sisters!
I entrust the situation in Colombia, which continues to be worrying, to the prayers of all of you. On this Solemnity of Pentecost, I pray that the beloved Colombian people will know how to welcome the gifts of the Holy Spirit so that, through serious dialogue, just solutions can be found to the many problems that especially the poorest suffer from, due to the pandemic. I urge everyone to avoid, for humanitarian reasons, behaviors that are harmful to the population in exercising the right to peaceful protest.
We also pray for the people of the city of Goma, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, forced to flee due to the eruption of the great Nyiragongo volcano.
The Catholic faithful in China will celebrate tomorrow the feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Help of Christians and the heavenly patroness of their great country. The Mother of the Lord and of the Church is venerated with particular devotion in the Shrine of Sheshan in Shanghai and is invoked assiduously by Christian families, in the trials and hopes of daily life. How good and how necessary it is for the members of a family and of a Christian community to be ever more united in love and faith! In this way parents and children, grandparents and children, pastors and faithful can follow the example of the first disciples who, on the solemnity of Pentecost, were unanimous in prayer with Mary awaiting the Holy Spirit. Therefore, I invite you to accompany with fervent prayer the Christian faithful in China, our dearest brothers and sisters, that I hold deep in my heart. May the Holy Spirit, protagonist of the Church's mission in the world, guide and help them to be bearers of the good news, witnesses of goodness and charity, and builders of justice and peace in their homeland.
And speaking of tomorrow's feast, Mary Help of Christians, a thought to the Salesians, who work so much, so much in the Church for the most distant, for the most marginalized, for the youth. May the Lord bless them and carry them forward with so many holy vocations!
The Laudato Si ' Year ends tomorrow . I thank all those who have participated with numerous initiatives around the world. It is a journey that we must continue together, listening to the cry of the Earth and the poor. For this reason, the " Laudato si ' Platform" will start immediately , a seven-year operational path that will guide families, parish and diocesan communities, schools and universities, hospitals, businesses, groups, movements, organizations, religious institutes to assume a sustainable lifestyle . And best wishes to the many animators who today receive the mandate to spread the Gospel of Creation and to take care of our common home.
I cordially greet all of you from Rome, Italy and other countries. I see Poland, Mexico, Chile, Panama and many others here… I see flags there: Colombia. Thanks for being present! In particular, I greet the young people of the Focolare Movement… These Focolare are noisy! And the participants in the "Walk of friendship with the forces of order".
I wish everyone a happy Sunday. And please don't forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and goodbye. Many greetings to you!
FULL TEXT Source: Vatican.va