Presiding over Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on Pentecost Sunday, Pope Francis recalls Jesus’ promise to send to his disciples the Holy Spirit, “the ultimate gift, the gift of gifts,” the Spirit who “is the very love of God ”.
By the editor of Vatican News
In his homily for the Pentecost Sunday Mass, Pope Francis reflected on the meaning of the mysterious word, difficult to translate, that Jesus used to describe the Holy Spirit: Paraclete. He said that two essential meanings are present: Comforter and Advocate.
Paraclete as a Comforter
In difficult times we seek consolation, the Pope observed, but often we only seek earthly remedies, which do not last, working only as a temporary “pain reliever” in which “they can soothe us, but not us. to cure “. Instead, someone “who makes us feel loved for who we are” can offer peace to our hearts, not just our senses, and here the “Holy Spirit, the love of God” is the solution. . The Spirit, the Pope noted, works in our spirit, accompanies us and is our “source of comfort”.
He encouraged everyone to “open their hearts to the Holy Spirit” as a way to deal with the darkness, pain and loneliness in our lives. Instead, the Pope noted, the world praises us when things are going well, but condemns us when things aren’t, which is exactly what the hostile spirit, the devil, does. But the experience of the Apostles must give us hope, he observed: despite their fears, their weaknesses and their failures, everything changed when they received the Spirit. While their weakness and problems did not go away, “they were no longer afraid of them or those who were hostile to them,” he said. They felt in them the comfort, the consolation and the support of God and only wanted to share it and testify of this love which they had received.
The Pope said today that we are also “called to bear witness in the Holy Spirit, become paracletes, comforters ”in our world,“ to embody the comfort ”that the Spirit brings. We can do this by “drawing closer to others”, by “prayer and closeness” and not just by fine words. He also said that we need to be positive and not just denounce what is wrong, but joyfully proclaim the gospel, bring the love of God to the world, and bear witness to mercy.
Paraclete as a lawyer
In his second focal point of his homily, the Pope examined the significance of Paraclete as Advocate. As a “spirit of truth,” the Holy Spirit “defends us from the deceptions of evil by inspiring thoughts and feelings.” The Spirit, “proposes but does not impose”, he notes; while the spirit of deception, the evil one, encourages us on the contrary to give in to temptation.
We have three “antidotes” here, the Pope said. The first is that the Holy Spirit advises us to “live in the present”, not to be chained by our past mistakes or frozen by fear of the future. There is no better time than now, he observed, “the one and only time to do good, to make a gift of our life.”
The Spirit also calls us to “look towards the whole”, to think beyond ourselves, to think as a Church with its wide range of charisms and to seek “a unity which is never uniformity”. The Spirit works and brings newness to the community, he noted, as with the apostles who are all very different people with varying ideas, visions and gifts. Yet, once they received the Spirit, they gave primacy to “all” which is God’s plan. If we listen to the Spirit, we can look beyond our differences and accept the call “to unity, to harmony, to harmony. harmony of diversity”.
Finally, the Spirit calls us to a humble openness to God, to “put God before ourselves”, said the Pope, because “the Spirit affirms the primacy of grace ”. We must empty ourselves to “make room for the Lord”. Only in this way will we truly “find ourselves” and “become rich in the Holy Spirit”. The Pope said that this is also true for the Church: we must not get lost in our own plans and projects, but never forget to look up and remind yourself that “the Church is not one. human organization; it is the temple of the Holy Spirit ”.
In conclusion, the Pope prayed that “our Advocate, gentle counselor of the soul, make us witnesses of the” today “of God, prophets of unity for the Church and humanity. “as apostles founding the grace of God,” who creates and renews all things “.