Pope Francis: The Holy Spirit brings unity to those who proclaim the message

Dove of the Holy Spirit window, St Peter's

Dove of the Holy Spirit window, St Peter's

Source: Vatican News

Pope Francis celebrated Mass on Pentecost Sunday with a small socially-distanced congregation in St Peter's Basilica. During his homily the Pope pointed out that despite the diversity of backgrounds and ethnicities among Christ's followers in the early Church, the Holy Spirit brought about unity by making them realise that they are primarily the children of God.

In his First Letter to the Corinthians, St Paul says: "There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit."

In our own times, Pope Francis said, we too have our differences of opinion, choice and sensibilities. But the temptation to fiercely defend our ideas as good for everybody, the Pope warned, is "a faith created in our own image… not what the Spirit wants."

Much more than our beliefs and our morality, the Spirit unites us as "God's beloved children… we have one Lord - Jesus - and one Father, and that for this reason we are brothers and sisters!"

The Spirit loves us and knows everyone's place in the grand scheme of things, the Pope said. "We are not bits of confetti blown about by the wind, rather each one of us is a irreplaceable piece in His mosaic."

Pope Francis went on to say the first task of the Church is proclamation. The Spirit does not want the Apostles to be locked in upper rooms where it is easy to "nest". Rather, He "opens doors and pushes us to press beyond what has already been said and done, beyond the precincts of a timid and wary faith."

After Pentecost, one thing that kept the Apostles going, the Pope said, was "the desire to give what they received." In the Church, the Pope said, the Spirit guarantees unity to those who proclaim the message.

The "secret of unity" of the Holy Spirit, the Pope pointed out, is a gift, as He Himself is gift. Hence, it is important to believe that "God is gift," that He acts not by taking away, but by giving.

If we realise that what we are is due to His free and unmerited gift, then "we too will want to make our lives a gift… By loving humbly, serving freely and joyfully, we will offer to the world the true image of God."

However the Pope noted there are three enemies of self-giving: narcissism, victimhood and pessimism. Narcissism, makes us concerned only with how we can profit from it. In this time of the pandemic, the Pope lamented the tendency to think only of our own needs, to be indifferent to those of others.

Victimhood, he said, is equally dangerous. Victims complain every day about their neighbours - that no one understands them, no one experiences what they experience and everyone is against them. In the present crisis, he noted, we are experiencing how ugly victimhood is.

Pessimism is an unending complaint that "nothing is going well in society, politics, the Church…". A pessimist gets angry with the world, but sits back and does nothing. In the current crisis, the Pope said it is damaging to "see everything in the worst light and to keep saying that nothing will return as before."

"When someone thinks this way," the Pope said "the one thing that certainly does not return is hope." "We are experiencing a famine of hope," he said, "and we need to appreciate the gift of life, the gift that each of us is." "We need the Holy Spirit, the gift of God who heals us of narcissism, victimhood and pessimism."

Watch a video of the Mass here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbe5vRhLT_M

Tags: Pentecost, Pope Francis, Holy Spirit

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