The Vatican

Pope at Pentecost: "We do not give up, we speak of peace and forgiveness".

At the Mass of the Solemnity of Pentecost, celebrated by Pope Francis in St. Peter's Basilica this morning, the Holy Father referred to the action of the Holy Spirit in our souls and to the proclamation of the Gospel with boldness. He also stressed that "we surrender to the Spirit, but not to the forces of the world, and we speak of peace, forgiveness, acceptance and life".  

Francisco Otamendi-May 19, 2024-Reading time: 4 minutes
Papa Verona

Pope Francis at the Pentecost Vigil Mass in Verona (Italy) @OSV.

"In the account of Pentecost, the Acts of the Apostles shows us two areas of the action of the Holy Spirit in the Church, in us and in the mission. With two characteristics, strength and kindness. The action of the Spirit in us is strong, as symbolized by the signs of wind and fire, which often in the Bible are related to the power of God". 

This is how the Pope began his homily at the Eucharistic Celebration Pentecost Sunday at St. Peter's, in which he often left the official text and spoke from the heart.

Without the power of the Holy Spirit, he continued, "we will never be able to defeat evil, nor overcome the desires of the flesh, of which St. Paul speaks. Without this strength, we will not succeed. Impurity, idolatry and envy can be overcome with the Spirit. He gives us the strength to do so, because he enters into our heart, arid, hard and cold, which ruins our relationships with others and divides our communities. And He enters into this heart and heals everything. Jesus showed us this when, moved by the Spirit, he withdrew for forty days to the desert to be tempted, and at that moment his humanity also grew, was strengthened and prepared for the mission".

"At the same time, the action of the Paraclete in us is kind, strong and gentle. Wind and fire neither destroy nor incinerate what they touch. The former sounds in the house where the disciples are, and the fire rests gently in the form of flames on the head of each one." 

"This gentleness is a trait of God's action, which we find so often in the Bible," and which "delicately cultivates the small plants of the virtues, waters them, protects them with love, so that they grow and become strong," and "we can taste, after the effort of the struggle against evil, the sweetness of mercy and communion with God. The Spirit gives us the strength to push, and is also delicate, the Holy Father summarized.

"Sent to proclaim the Gospel, with boldness."

Then the Pontiff said: "The Paraclete anoints us, he is with us, he acts by transforming their hearts (he is referring to the disciples), and he instills in them a boldness that impels them to transmit to others their experience of Jesus and the hope that animates them. This is also true for us who have received the gift of the Holy Spirit in Baptism and Confirmation.

"From the cenacle of this Basilica we are sent to proclaim the Gospel to everyone, going ever further, not only in a geographical sense, but beyond ethnic and religious barriers, for a truly universal mission, and thanks to the Spirit we can and must do it with the same strength and the same kindness. Not with arrogance and impositions. The Christian is not overbearing, his strength is different, it is that of the Spirit".

"We continue to speak of peace, forgiveness, welcome, life".

"That's why we don't give up," he then added, in what seemed like an important section of his message in this feast of Pentecost. "We surrender to the Spirit, but not to the forces of the world. We continue to speak of peace to those who want war, of forgiveness to those who sow revenge, of welcome and solidarity to those who close doors and erect barriers, of life to those who choose death, of respect to those who like to humiliate, insult and discard, of fidelity to those who reject every bond and confuse freedom with a superficial, opaque and empty individualism."

Welcoming all, hope, granting peace

"All this without letting ourselves be frightened by the difficulties, by the mockery, or by the opposition that today, as in the past, is never lacking in apostolic life". And the way we do it with this strength, "our proclamation must be gentle," he stressed, "to welcome everyone, everyone, everyone, everyone. let us not forget the parable of those invited to the feast who did not want to go. Go to the crossroads and bring everyone, everyone, everyone. Good and bad. Everyone. The Spirit gives us the strength to go ahead and call everyone, with that kindness. He gives us the gentleness to welcome everyone".

In conclusion, the Pope pointed out that "we have great need of hope. It is not optimism, it is something else. We need hope. We need to raise our eyes to horizons of peace, fraternity, justice and solidarity. This is often not easy. But we know that we are not alone. We know that with the help of the Holy Spirit, with his gifts, together we can make this path more passable.

"Let us renew, sisters and brothers, our faith in the presence with us of the Comforter, and let us continue to pray: 'Come, Creator Spirit, enlighten our minds, fill our hearts with your grace, guide our steps, grant our world your peace. Amen.

Regina coeli: reading and meditating on the Gospel

Later, from the window of the apostolic palace, Pope Francis prayed the Regina coeli with the pilgrims and Romans gathered in St. Peter's Square on a rainy day. The Holy Father encouraged them, as he has done on other occasions, to pay attention to the "words that express the marvelous sentiments of God's eternal love". 

The Word of God, inspired by the Spirit, encourages us every day, and for this reason he invited us to "read and meditate on the Gospel every day", carrying it in our pockets, The Word of God "silences all the talk", he stressed, also encouraging silent prayer of adoration. "May Mary make us docile to the voice of the Holy Spirit".

After the recitation of the Marian prayer, Francis recalled on this solemnity of Pentecost  that "the Holy Spirit creates harmony from different realities, "harmony in hearts, in families, in society, in the whole world", and prayed for the growth of "communion and fraternity" and an end to wars in the Holy Land, Palestine, Israel and in so many other places. 

He also thanked the people of Verona for welcoming him at his visit He also remembered the pilgrims from East Timor, "whom I will be visiting soon," those from Latvia and Uruguay, and the Paraguayan community in Rome, among other groups.

The authorFrancisco Otamendi

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