As I type this I am watching Pope Francis celebrating the Mass of Pentecost morning in St. Peter’s Square. A few notes from his homily, just finished.
What happened on that Pentecost day when the disciples gathered in the room.
- there was a sound – the rush of sind
- and there were tongues of fire.
Sound and tongues of fire are clear and concrete signs that touched the disciples deeply not only outside themselves but inside themselves. A great crowd then gathered to hear them speaking, speaking about God’s deeds of power.
The pope then offered a reflection on three words: newness, harmony, and mission.
Newness always makes us a bit fearful. We feel more secure when we have everything under control. The same is true when it comes to our relationship with God. It is difficult to abandon ourselves to God totally, allowing the Holy Spirit to take us over. We fear that God will lead us to strike out on new paths. God always brings newness. God demands our complete trust. Remember Noah, Abraham, Moses, the apostles, they all go forth with courage. This is not novelty for novelty’s sake, but the search for something new to relieve our boredom. God’s newness actually brings us the fulfillment we seek. Are we open to God’s surprises? Do we have the courage to strike out on new paths, or are we barricaded into old structures.
The Holy Spirit appears to create disorder in the Church – a variety of gifts, but the Holy Spirit brings unity. Not uniformity, but harmony. Remember The Holy Spirit IS harmony. In our attempt to bring unity in accordance with our human plans we end up creating uniformity and standardisation. If we let ourselves be guided by the Holy Spirit,. Am I open to the harmony of the Holy Spirit, living in and with the Church?
The older theologians used to say that the Church is like a sailboat, and the Spirit is the wind that takes us forward. In the Spirit we are saved from going in on ourselves. The events that took place in Jerusalem almost 2000 years ago are not removed from us. The Pentecost in the Jerusalem upper-room is the beginning. He wants that gift to reach everyone. The Holy Spirit makes us look to the horizon. Do we tend to stay closed in on ourselves, safely in our group?
Let’s remember these three words.
In today’s liturgy we pray:
Come Holy Spirit,
fill the hearts of your faithful
and enkindle in them the fire of your love.
Last night the Pope celebrated a Pentecost Vigil with many of the new movements and ecclesial communities in the Church. I heard only a small part of this replayed early this afternoon, and as soon as youtube clips etc are available I will share these here.