My dear Fathers, Sisters and Brothers,
Grace and Peace of Christ Jesus our Risen Lord !
Pentecost is the feast of God dwelling within us, His dwelling in the space between us: between our human bodies, between ourselves and Christ, ourselves and the Father. Our life is filled with the gift of a bond that binds us together in our fidelity to our commitments, in our obedience to each other, in the love that passes between us, in the love we have to Christ and his Word: that is the Spirit of Pentecost living in us. On Pentecost, the noise of God’s breath, as it were, fills each disciple and becomes the speech of the disciples; such that they can speak and be understood in every human tongue. The Spirit purifies and transforms it so that instead of being a barrier between human beings, it becomes the bearer of a word about himself. Human language, a bond between persons, is now the place where God’s Spirit lives, as part of our ability to speak, communicate and bond with each other. Every true disciple is thus empowered to go into our world and speak the language of unity, peace, love and freedom to all nations. It marks, therefore, the beginning of the Church’s missionary action. For this reason, in a creative and unexpected way, through the event of Pentecost, the Spirit makes of the disciples a new people; he creates in them a new heart. First: The Holy Spirit grants the grace to receive his unity, leaving personal preferences aside, embracing and loving his Church, our Church. To be men and women of the Church means being men and women of communion. By his presence and his activity, the Spirit “brought the scattered races together into unity… to make us fit for God’s purposes” (St. Irenaeus). He does so in a way that effects true union, unity in difference. It means to accept responsibility for oneness among all, to wipe out the gossip that sows the darnel of discord and the virus of envy in order to be a new people, a people of communion.
Second: A new heart. The risen Jesus appears to his disciples and says to them: “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them” (Jn 20:22-23). Here we see the beginning of the renewed Church; the glue that binds and holds the disciples as one: forgiveness, the gift of the highest degree; the greatest love of all. It preserves unity despite everything, prevents any collapse and strengthens. Forgiveness sets our hearts free and enables us to start afresh with hope. The spirit of forgiveness leads us to reject every other way: the way of hasty judgement, of closing every door, the one-way street of criticizing others. Instead, the Spirit bids us take the two-way street of forgiveness received and given, of divine mercy that becomes love of neighbour, of charity as the sole criterion by which everything must be done or not done. Without forgiveness the Church can not be built anew. At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit “grants courage to proclaim the newness of the Gospel with boldness”(EG.259); he “helps us in our weakness” (Rom8:26); he can heal whatever causes us to flag in our missionary zeal. Allowing oneself to be guided by the Spirit, as he wills, when he wills and where he wills makes our efforts bear fruits in his good time. Let us call upon him today and ask him: “Spirit of God, who dwell in my heart and in the heart of the Church, come! Like water, we need you to live. Come down upon us anew, teach us unity, renew our hearts and teach us to love as you love us, to forgive as you forgive us. Amen”.