When the feast of Pentecost came, all the believers were gathered in one place. Thus begins the second chapter of the book of the Acts of the Apostles that we have just heard. Today, too, thanks to technical advances, we are gathered together, believers from different parts of the world, on the eve of Pentecost.
The story continues: “Suddenly a great noise that came from the sky, like a strong wind, sounded throughout the house where they were. And they appeared to them like tongues of fire, spread over each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit (vv. 2-4).”
The Spirit rests on each one of the disciples, on each one of us. The Spirit promised by Jesus comes to renew, to convert, to heal each one of us. Fears come back — how many fears do we have — insecurities; He comes to heal our wounds, the wounds that we also make with each other; and he comes to become disciples, missionary disciples, full witnesses of courage, of apostolic parrhesia, who are necessary for the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus, as we read in the following verses that happened with the disciples.
Today more than ever we need the Father to send us the Holy Spirit. In the first chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, Jesus says to his disciples: “Wait for the promise that my Father made you, and of which I spoke to you, to be fulfilled. It is true that John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit (v. 4).” And, in verse 8, he says to them: “When the Spirit comes upon you, you will receive power and you will go out to bear witness of me in Jerusalem, and in all the region of Judea and in that of Samaria and even in the most distant parts of the earth.”
Testimony of Jesus. The Holy Spirit leads us to this witness. Today the world suffers, it is wounded; We live in a very wounded, suffering world, especially in the poorest, who are discarded, when all our human securities have disappeared, the world needs us to give Jesus. You need our witness to the Gospel, the Gospel of Jesus. We can only give that testimony with the force of the Holy Spirit.
We need the Spirit to give us new eyes, open our minds and our hearts to face this moment and the future with the lesson learned: we are one humanity. We do not save ourselves. No one is saved alone. Nobody. Saint Paul says in the epistle to the Galatians: “It no longer matters to be a Jew or a Greek, a slave or a free man or a woman, because all united to Christ we are one, one body alone” (cf. 3,28), united by the force of the Holy Spirit. By this baptism of the Holy Spirit that Jesus announces. We know it, we knew it, but this pandemic that we are living has made us experience it in a much more dramatic way.
We have before us the duty to build a new reality. The Lord will do it; we can collaborate: “I make all things new,” he says ( Rev 21,5).
When we get out of this pandemic, we will not be able to continue doing what we have been doing, and how we have been doing it. No, everything will be different. All the suffering will have been useless if we do not build together a fairer, more equitable, more Christian society, not in name, but in reality, a reality that leads us to Christian conduct. If we do not work to end the pandemic of poverty in the world, with the pandemic of poverty in the country of each one of us, in the city where each one of us lives, this time will have been in vain.
Of the great tests of humanity, and among them the pandemic, one comes out better or worse. It doesn’t come out the same.
I ask them: How do you want to go out? Better or worse? And that is why today we open ourselves to the Holy Spirit so that it is He who changes our hearts and helps us to get better.
If we do not live to be judged according to what Jesus tells us: “Because I was hungry and they gave me food, I was imprisoned and they visited me, a stranger and they received me” (cf. Mt 25, 35-36), we will not get better .
And this is everyone’s job, all of us. And also those of CHARIS, who are all united charismatics.
The third document in Mechelen, written in the 1970s by Cardinal Suenens and Bishop Helder Camara, which is called: “Charismatic Renewal and Service of Man,” marks this path for the current of grace. Be faithful to this call of the Holy Spirit!
The prophetic words of John XXIII when he announces the Vatican Council and that the Charismatic Renewal treasures especially come to my mind now : “Let the Divine Spirit be heard to hear in the most comforting way the prayer that ascends to Him from all corners of the Earth: Renew in our time the wonders as of a new Pentecost, and grant that the Holy Church, remaining unanimous in prayer, with Mary, the Mother of Jesus and under the guidance of Peter, increases the Kingdom of the Divine Savior, Kingdom of Truth and of Justice, Kingdom of Love and Peace.”
To all of you, I wish in this vigil the consolation of the Holy Spirit. And the strength of the Holy Spirit to get out of this moment of pain, sadness and trial that is the pandemic; to get better.
May the Lord bless you and the Virgin Mother take care of you.
Pope Francis’ message on the eve of Pentecost Sunday for the vigil organized by the Catholic Charismatic Renewal International Service, or Charis, the Vatican-based body set up by the pontiff to serve the Catholic Charismatic Renewal movement.
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