Pope on Pentecost: We are not alone, but helped and empowered by the Holy Spirit

In his homily for the Solemnity of Pentecost, Pope Francis reflects on how the Holy Spirit, operating in the Church with power and gentleness, never leaves us alone, and, if we let Him, gives us His presence and gifts to accomplish that for which us, alone, would have otherwise been impossible.

May 20, 2024

Pope Francis on Pentecost Sunday

By Deborah Castellano Lubov
Even at the most challenging of times or amid the day-to-day struggles, the Holy Spirit and His gifts enable us to persevere...

Pope Francis gave this comforting reminder during his homily on the Solemnity of Pentecost on Sunday in the Vatican, marking the end of the Easter Season.

During the Eucharistic celebration in St. Peter's Basilica, the Pope drew his cue from the account of Pentecost in the Acts of the Apostles, which he observed, shows the Holy Spirit’s operating in the Church, both in us and in mission, with the characteristics of power and gentleness.

The Pope remembered how the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples and remained at their side, as the Paraclete "who transformed their hearts and instilled in them a serene courage which impelled them to pass on to others their experience of Jesus and the hope which motivated them."

'We too are sent forth'
This, the Pope observed, is also true for all of us who received the Holy Spirit in Baptism and Confirmation. 

"From the “Upper Room” of this Basilica, like the Apostles, we too," he insisted, "are being sent forth to proclaim the Gospel to all. 

“From the “Upper Room” of this Basilica, like the Apostles, we too, are being sent forth to proclaim the Gospel to all.”

We are to do so, he said, without "arrogance, impositions, or calculating," but with "the energy born of fidelity to the truth that the Spirit teaches us in our hearts and causes to grow within us."

Tirelessly proclaiming peace, forgiveness, life
Consequently, Pope Francis suggested, "we do not give up, but tirelessly speak of peace to those who desire war, speak of forgiveness to those who seek revenge, speak of welcome and solidarity to those who bar their doors and erect barriers, speak of life to those who choose death, to speak of respect to those who love to humiliate, insult and reject, and to speak of fidelity to those who would sever every bond."

As he illustrated how powerful the Spirit’s work is within us, he warned that, "without such power, we would never be able to defeat evil on our own, nor overcome the desires of the flesh," that so easily rob our freedom.

The Pope suggested we must surrender ourselves to the Holy Spirit, not to the world.

Helps and inspires us
"The Holy Spirit, if we let Him," the Pope reassured, "inspires, helps and supports us" in this effort, so that "our moments of struggle can turn into occasions of growth, healthy crises from which we can emerge better, stronger, and capable of loving others with greater freedom."

Jesus too, he remembered, shows us this when He, prompted by the Spirit, withdrew for 40 days and was tempted in the desert, at time in which His humanity grew, was strengthened and prepared for mission.

The Pope also reflected on the Spirit's gentleness, which he observed, we frequently see characterizing God's way of acting in Scriptures, noting that likewise our proclamation ought to be "gentle and welcoming to all, in an effort to encourage and strengthen, wherever they may be, which draws close to every man and woman of good will, with humility and gentleness," like Jesus did.

Lifting our gaze
The Pope recognized the winding and uphill path toward peace, fraternity, and solidarity,  but reassured that "we are not alone," and, that with the help of the Holy Spirit and His gifts, we can walk together and make that path more and more inviting for others as well.

With this sentiment, Pope Francis concluded by inviting all of us to renew our faith in the presence of the Holy Spirit, Who is at our side and comforts us, "to enlighten our minds, fill our hearts with grace, guide our steps and grant our world peace."--Vatican News

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