On Sunday, Pope Francis delivered yet another moving homily. His Pentecost homily focused on the role the Holy Spirit plays in helping us do works of justice and peace. It is the fruits of the Spirit which guide us to truth and to a life of just living in the world:
Strengthened by the Spirit – who guides, who guides us into the truth, who renews us and the whole earth, and who gives us his fruits – strengthened in the Spirit and by these many gifts, may we be able to battle uncompromisingly against sin, to battle uncompromisingly against corruption, which continues to spread in the world day after day, by devoting ourselves with patient perseverance to the works of justice and peace.
Throughout his homily, Pope Francis reminded the faithful that the Holy Spirit guides the Church and her faithful yesterday, today, and tomorrow. It is the constant movement of the Holy Spirit in the Church that allows people to receive and share the love of God.
On the evening of Easter, Jesus appeared to the Apostles and breathed on them his Spirit; on the morning of Pentecost the outpouring occurred in a resounding way, like a wind which shook the place the Apostles were in, filling their minds and hearts. They received a new strength so great that they were able to proclaim Christ’s Resurrection in different languages. … Together with them was Mary, the Mother of Jesus, the first disciple, there too as Mother of the nascent Church. With her peace, with her smile, with her maternity, she accompanied the joyful young Bride, the Church of Jesus.
Pope Francis also reminded the faithful of Jesus’ promise to his disciples that the Holy Spirit will come to “guide them into all the truth” and to explain to them the works of the Messiah.
To the Apostles, who could not bear the scandal of their Master’s sufferings, the Spirit would give a new understanding of the truth and beauty of that saving event. At first they were paralysed with fear, shut in the Upper Room to avoid the aftermath of Good Friday. Now they would no longer be ashamed to be Christ’s disciples; they would no longer tremble before the courts of men. Filled with the Holy Spirit, they would now understand ‘all the truth’: that the death of Jesus was not his defeat, but rather the ultimate expression of God’s love, a love that, in the Resurrection, conquers death and exalts Jesus as the Living One, the Lord, the Redeemer of mankind, the Lord of history and of the world. This truth, to which the Apostles were witnesses, became Good News, to be proclaimed to all.
The Holy Father drew special attention to the role the Holy Spirit plays in renewing the earth:
Respect for creation, then, is a requirement of our faith: the ‘garden’ in which we live is not entrusted to us to be exploited, but rather to be cultivated and tended with respect. Yet this is possible only if Adam – the man formed from the earth – allows himself in turn to be renewed by the Holy Spirit, only if he allows himself to be re-formed by the Father on the model of Christ, the new Adam. In this way, renewed by the Spirit of God, we will indeed be able to experience the freedom of the sons and daughters, in harmony with all creation. In every creature we will be able to see reflected the glory of the Creator.
Pope Francis ended his homily by calling on the faithful to open themselves up to the Holy Spirit. He also reminded the faithful of the gifts they have been given in the Spirit:
The gift of the Holy Spirit has been bestowed upon the Church and upon each one of us, so that we may live lives of genuine faith and active charity, that we may sow the seeds of reconciliation and peace.