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Monday, May 30, 2016

0471: Reflections on the Tenth Sunday
of Ordinary Time by Pope Francis



Entry 0471: Reflections on the Tenth Sunday of Ordinary Time   

 by Pope Francis 



On one occasion during his pontificate, Pope Francis delivered a reflection on the Tenth Sunday of Ordinary Time, on 9 June 2013. Here is the text of this address.


POPE FRANCIS

ANGELUS

St Peter’s Square, Sunday, 9 June 2013

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Good morning! The month of June is traditionally dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the greatest human expression of divine love. In fact last Friday we celebrated the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and this feast sets the tone for the entire month. Popular piety highly values symbols, and the Heart of Jesus is the ultimate symbol of God’s mercy. But it is not an imaginary symbol; it is a real symbol which represents the centre, the source from which salvation flowed for all of humanity.

In the Gospels we find various references to the Heart of Jesus. For example there is a passage in which Christ himself says: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart” (Mt 11:28-29). Then there is the key account of Christ’s death according to John. Indeed this Evangelist bears witness to what he saw on Calvary, that is, when Jesus was already dead a soldier pierced his side with a spear and blood and water came out of the wound (see Jn 19:33-34). In that apparently coincidental sign John recognizes the fulfillment of the prophecies: from the Heart of Jesus, the Lamb sacrificed on the Cross, flow forgiveness and life for all people.

The mercy of Jesus is not only an emotion; it is a force which gives life that raises man! Today’s Gospel also tells us this in the episode of the widow of Nain (Lk 7:11-17). With his disciples, Jesus arrives in Nain, a village in Galilee, right at the moment when a funeral is taking place. A boy, the only son of a widow, is being carried for burial. Jesus immediately fixes his gaze on the crying mother. The Evangelist Luke says: “And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her” (v. 13). This “compassion” is God’s love for man, it is mercy, thus the attitude of God in contact with human misery, with our destitution, our suffering, our anguish. The biblical term “compassion” recalls a mother’s womb. The mother in fact reacts in a way all her own in confronting the pain of her children. It is in this way, according to Scripture, that God loves us.

What is the fruit of this love and mercy? It is life! Jesus says to the widow of Nain: “Do not weep” and then he calls the dead boy and awakes him as if from sleep (see vv. 13-15). Let’s think about this, it’s beautiful: God’s mercy gives life to man, it raises him from the dead. Let us not forget that the Lord always watches over us with mercy; he always watches over us with mercy. Let us not be afraid of approaching him! He has a merciful heart! If we show him our inner wounds, our inner sins, he will always forgive us. It is pure mercy Let us go to Jesus!

Let us turn to the Virgin Mary: her Immaculate Heart, a mother’s heart, has fully shared in the “compassion” of God, especially in the hour of the passion and death of Jesus. May Mary help us to be mild, humble and merciful with our brothers

© Copyright - Libreria Editrice Vaticana



* * * * *


For reflections on the Tenth Sunday of Ordinary Time 

 by Pope Benedict XVI,
please scroll down to the bottom of this page.




* * * * *

Monday, May 23, 2016

0470: Reflections on the Solemnity of the
Sacred Body and Blood of Christ by Pope Francis



Entry 0470: Reflections on the Solemnity of the  

Sacred Body and Blood of Christ by Pope Francis 



On six occasions during his pontificate, Pope Francis has delivered reflections on the solemnity of the Sacred Body and Blood of Christ on 30 May 2013, 2 June 2013, 19 June 2014, 22 June 2014, 4 June 2015, and 7 June 2015. Here are the texts of three addresses prior to the recitation of the Angelus and three homilies delivered on these occasions.


HOLY MASS ON THE SOLEMNITY OF CORPUS CHRISTI

HOMILY OF HOLY FATHER FRANCIS

Basilica of St John Lateran
Solemnity of Corpus Christi, Thursday, 30 May 2013
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In the Gospel we have listened to, Jesus says something that I always find striking: “you give them something to eat” (Lk 9:13). Starting with this sentence I am letting myself be guided by three words; following [sequela], communion, sharing.

1. First of all: who are those who must be given something to eat? We find the answer at the beginning of the Gospel passage: it is the crowd, the multitude. Jesus is in the midst of the people, he welcomes them, he speaks to them, he heals them, he shows them God’s mercy; it is from among them that he chooses the Twelve Apostles to be with him and, like him, to immerse themselves in the practical situations of the world. Furthermore the people follow him and listen to him, because Jesus is speaking and behaving in a new way, with the authority of someone who is authentic and consistent, someone who speaks and acts with truth, someone who gives the hope that comes from God, someone who is a revelation of the Face of a God who is love. And the people joyfully bless God.

This evening we are the crowd of the Gospel, we too seek to follow Jesus in order to listen to him, to enter into communion with him in the Eucharist, to accompany him and in order that he accompany us. Let us ask ourselves: how do I follow Jesus? Jesus speaks in silence in the Mystery of the Eucharist. He reminds us every time that following him means going out of ourselves and not making our life a possession of our own, but rather a gift to him and to others.

2. Let us take another step. What does Jesus’ request to the disciples, that they themselves give food to the multitude, come from? It comes from two things: first of all from the crowd, who in following Jesus find themselves in the open air, far from any inhabited areas, while evening is falling; and then from the concern of the disciples who ask Jesus to send the crowd away so that they can go to the neighboring villages to find provisions and somewhere to stay (see Lk 9:12).

Faced with the needs of the crowd the disciples’ solution was this: let each one think of himself—send the crowd away! How often do we Christians have this temptation! We do not take upon ourselves the needs of others, but dismiss them with a pious: “God help you,” or with a not so pious “good luck,” and if I never see you again. But Jesus’ solution goes in another direction, a direction that astonishes the disciples: “You give them something to eat.” Yet how could we be the ones to give a multitude something to eat? “We have no more than five loaves and two fish—unless we are to go and buy food for all these people” (Lk 9:13). However Jesus does not despair. He asks the disciples to have the people sit down in groups of 50 people. He looks up to heaven, recites the blessing, breaks the bread and fish into pieces and gives them to the disciples to distribute (see Lk 9:16). It is a moment of deep communion: the crowd is satisfied by the word of the Lord and is now nourished by his bread of life. And they were all satisfied, the Evangelist notes (see Lk 9:17).

This evening we too are gathered round the table of the Lord, the table of the Eucharistic sacrifice, in which he once again gives us his Body and makes present the one sacrifice of the Cross. It is in listening to his word, in nourishing ourselves with his Body and his Blood that he moves us on from being a multitude to being a community, from anonymity to communion. The Eucharist is the sacrament of communion that brings us out of individualism so that we may follow him together, living out our faith in him. Therefore we should all ask ourselves before the Lord: how do I live the Eucharist? Do I live it anonymously or as a moment of true communion with the Lord, and also with all the brothers and sisters who share this same banquet? What are our Eucharistic celebrations like?

3. A final element: where does the multiplication of the loaves come from? The answer lies in Jesus’ request to the disciples: “You give them,” “to give,” to share. What do the disciples share? The little they have: five loaves and two fish. However it is those very loaves and fish in the Lord’s hands that feed the entire crowd. And it is the disciples themselves, bewildered as they face the insufficiency of their means, the poverty of what they are able to make available, who get the people to sit down and who—trusting in Jesus’ words—distribute the loaves and fish that satisfy the crowd. And this tells us that in the Church, but also in society, a key word of which we must not be frightened is “solidarity,” that is, the ability to make what we have, our humble capacities, available to God, for only in sharing, in giving, will our life be fruitful. Solidarity is a word seen badly by the spirit of the world!

This evening, once again, the Lord distributes for us the bread that is his Body, he makes himself a gift; and we too experience “God’s solidarity” with man, a solidarity that is never depleted, a solidarity that never ceases to amaze us: God makes himself close to us, in the sacrifice of the Cross he humbles himself, entering the darkness of death to give us his life which overcomes evil, selfishness and death. Jesus, this evening too, gives himself to us in the Eucharist, shares in our journey, indeed he makes himself food, the true food that sustains our life also in moments when the road becomes hard-going and obstacles slow our steps. And in the Eucharist the Lord makes us walk on his road, that of service, of sharing, of giving; and if it is shared, that little we have, that little we are, becomes riches, for the power of God—which is the power of love—comes down into our poverty to transform it.

So let us ask ourselves this evening, in adoring Christ who is really present in the Eucharist: do I let myself be transformed by him? Do I let the Lord who gives himself to me, guide me to going out ever more from my little enclosure, in order to give, to share, to love him and others?

Brothers and sisters, following, communion, sharing. Let us pray that participation in the Eucharist may always be an incentive: to follow the Lord every day, to be instruments of communion and to share what we are with him and with our neighbour. Our life will then be truly fruitful. Amen.


POPE FRANCIS

ANGELUS

St Peter’s Square, Sunday, 2 June 2013

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Good morning! Last Thursday we celebrated the Feast of Corpus Christi, which, in Italy and in other countries has been moved to this Sunday. It is the Feast of the Eucharist, the sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ.

The Gospel presents to us the account of the miracle of the Multiplication of the Loaves (Lk 9:11-17); I would like to reflect on one aspect of it that never fails to impress me and makes me think. We are on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, daylight is fading. Jesus is concerned for the people who have spent so many hours with him: there are thousands of them and they are hungry. What should he do? The disciples also pose the problem and tell Jesus: “send the crowd away” so that they can go and find provisions in the villages close by. But Jesus says: “You give them something to eat” (v. 13). The disciples are discomfited and answer him: “we have no more than five loaves and two fish,” as if to say, barely enough for ourselves.

Jesus well knows what to do, but he wishes to involve his disciples, he wants to teach them. The disciples’ attitude is the human one that seeks the most realistic solution which does not create too many problems: dismiss the crowd, they say, let each person organize himself as best he can, moreover you have already done so much for them: you have preached, you have healed the sick. Send the crowd away!

Jesus’ outlook is very different; it is dictated by his union with the Father and his compassion for the people, that mercifulness of Jesus for us all. Jesus senses our problems, he senses our weaknesses, he senses our needs. Looking at those five loaves, Jesus thinks: this is Providence! From this small amount, God can make it suffice for everyone. Jesus trusts in the heavenly Father without reserve; he knows that for him everything is possible. Thus he tells his disciples to have the people sit down in groups of 50—this is not merely coincidental, for it means that they are no longer a crowd but become communities nourished by God’s bread. Jesus then takes those loaves and fish, looks up to heaven, recites the blessing—the reference to the Eucharist is clear—and breaks them and gives them to the disciples who distribute them, and the loaves and fish do not run out, they do not run out! This is the miracle: rather than a multiplication it is a sharing, inspired by faith and prayer. Everyone eats and some is left over: it is the sign of Jesus, the Bread of God for humanity.

The disciples witnessed the message but failed to understand it. Like the crowd they are swept up by enthusiasm for what has occurred. Once again they follow human logic rather than God’s, which is that of service, love and faith. The Feast of Corpus Christi asks us to convert to faith in Providence, so that we may share the little we are and have, and never to withdraw into ourselves. Let us ask our Mother Mary to help us in this conversion, in order to follow truly and more closely the Jesus whom we adore in the Eucharist. So may it be.


HOLY MASS ON THE SOLEMNITY OF CORPUS CHRISTI

HOMILY OF POPE FRANCIS

Saint John Lateran Square
 Solemnity of Corpus Christi, Thursday, 19 June 2014

“The Lord your God ... fed you with manna, which you did not know” (Dt 8:2-3).

These words from Deuteronomy make reference to the history of the Israelites, whom God led out of Egypt, out of slavery, and for 40 years led through the desert toward the promised land. Once established on the land, the Chosen People attain a certain autonomy, a certain wellbeing, and run the risk of forgetting the harrowing events of the past, overcome thanks to God’s intervention and to his infinite goodness. And so the Scriptures urge the people to recall, to remember, to memorize, the entire walk through the desert, in times of famine and desperation. The command of Moses is to return to the basics, to the experience of total dependence on God, when survival was placed in his hands, so the people would understand that “man does not live by bread alone, but that man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord” (Dt 8:3).

Besides physical hunger, man experiences another hunger, a hunger that cannot be satiated with ordinary food. It’s a hunger for life, a hunger for love, a hunger for eternity. And the sign of mannalike the entire experience of Exodus—also contains in itself this dimension: it was the symbol of a food that satisfies this deep human hunger. Jesus gives us this food, rather, He himself is the living bread that gives life to the world (see Jn 6:51). His Body is the true food in the form of bread; his Blood is the true drink in the form of wine. It isn’t simple nourishment to satisfy the body, like manna; the Body of Christ is the bread of the last times, capable of giving life, eternal life, because this bread is made of love.

The Eucharist communicates the Lord’s love for us: a love so great that it nourishes us with Himself; a freely given love, always available to every person who hungers and needs to regenerate his own strength. To live the experience of faith means to allow oneself to be nourished by the Lord and to build one’s own existence not with material goods but with the reality that does not perish: the gifts of God, his Word and his Body.

If we look around, we realize that there are so many offers of food which do not come from the Lord and which appear to be more satisfying. Some nourish themselves with money, others with success and vanity, others with power and pride. But the food that truly nourishes and satiates us is only that which the Lord gives us! The food the Lord offers us is different from other food, and perhaps it doesn’t seem as flavorful to us as certain other dishes the world offers us. So we dream of other dishes, like the Hebrews in the desert, who longed for the meat and onions they ate in Egypt, but forgot that they had eaten those meals at the table of slavery. In those moments of temptation, they had a memory, but a sick memory, a selective memory. A slave memory, not a free one.

We, today, may ask ourselves: what about me? Where do I want to eat? At which table to I want to be nourished? At the Lord’s table? Or do I dream about eating flavorful foods, but in slavery? Moreover, we may ask ourselves: what do I recall? The Lord who saves me, or the garlic and onions of slavery? Which recollection satiates my soul?

The Father tells us: “I fed you with manna, which you did not know.” Let us recover this memory. This is the task, to recover that memory. And let us learn to recognize the false bread that deceives and corrupts, because it comes from selfishness, from self-reliance and from sin.

Soon, in the procession, we will follow Jesus truly present in the Eucharist. The Host is our manna, through which the Lord gives himself to us. We turn to Him with faith: Jesus, defend us from the temptation of worldly food which enslaves us, tainted food; purify our memory, so it isn’t imprisoned in selfish and worldly selectivity, but that it may be a living memory of your presence throughout the history of your people, a memory that makes a “monument” of your gesture of redeeming love. Amen.


POPE FRANCIS

ANGELUS

St. Peter’s Square, Sunday, 22 June 2014

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!

The feast of the Body and Blood of Christ is being celebrated this Sunday in Italy and in many other Countries, often using the Latin terms—Corpus Domini or Corpus Christi. The ecclesial community gathers around the Eucharist to adore the most precious treasure that Jesus left us.

The Gospel of John presents the discourse on the “bread of life,” held by Jesus in the Synagogue of Capernaum, in which he affirms, “I am the living bread come down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread that I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh” (Jn 6:51). Jesus underlines that he has not come into this world to give something, but to give himself, his life, as nourishment for those who have faith in Him. This our communion with the Lord obliges us, his disciples, to imitate him, making our existence, through our behavior, bread broken for others, as the Teacher has broken the bread that is truly his flesh. Instead, this means for us generous conduct towards our neighbour thereby demonstrating the attitude of giving life for others.

Every time that we participate in Holy Mass and we are nourished by the Body of Christ, the presence of Jesus and of the Holy Spirit acts in us, shaping our hearts, communicating an interior disposition to us that translates into conduct according to the Gospel. Above all, docility to the Word of God, then fraternity amongst ourselves, the courage of Christian witness, creative charity, the capacity to give hope to the disheartened, to welcome the excluded. In this way the Eucharist fosters a mature Christian lifestyle. The charity of Christ, welcomed with an open heart, changes us, transforms us, renders us capable of loving not according to human measure, always limited, but according to the measure of God. And what is the measure of God? Without measure! The measure of God is without measure. Everything! Everything! Everything! It’s impossible to measure the love of God: it is without measure! And so we become capable of loving even those who do not love us: and this is not easy. To love someone who doesn’t love us. It’s not easy! Because if we know that a person doesn’t like us, then we also tend to bear ill will. But no! We must love even someone who doesn’t love us! Opposing evil with good, with pardon, with sharing, with welcome. Thanks to Jesus and to his Spirit, even our life becomes “bread broken” for our brothers. And living like this we discover true joy! The joy of making of oneself a gift, of reciprocating the great gift that we have first received, without merit of our own. This is beautiful: our life is made a gift! This is to imitate Jesus. I wish to remind you of these two things. First: the measure of God’s love is love without measure. Is this clear? And our life, with the love of Jesus, received in the Eucharist, is made a gift. As was the life of Jesus. Don’t forget these two things: the measure of the love of God is love without measure. And following Jesus, we, with the Eucharist, make of our life a gift.

Jesus, Bread of eternal life, came down from heaven and was made flesh thanks to the faith of Mary Most Holy. After having borne him with ineffable love in herself, she followed him faithfully unto the Cross and to the resurrection. Let us ask Our Lady to help us rediscover the beauty of the Eucharist, to make it the centre of our life, especially at Sunday Mass and in adoration.


HOLY MASS, PROCESSION TO SAINT MARY MAJOR AND EUCHARISTIC BLESSING
ON THE SOLEMNITY OF THE MOST HOLY BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST

HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS

Saint John Lateran Square, Thursday, 4 June 2015

We heard: how at the [Last] Supper Jesus gives his Body and his Blood through the bread and wine, to leave us the memorial of his sacrifice of infinite love. And with this “Viaticum” filled with grace, the disciples had everything necessary for their journey through history, to extend to all the Kingdom of God. The gift that Jesus made of himself, by his voluntary immolation on the Cross, will be light and strength for them. And this Bread of Life has come down to us! The Church’s amazement at this reality is unending. An astonishment which always feeds contemplation, adoration, and memory. This is shown to us by a really beautiful text from today’s Liturgy, the Responsory to the Second Reading from the Office of Readings, which reads: “See in this bread the body of Christ which hung upon the cross, and in this cup the blood which flowed from his side. Take his body, then, and eat it; take his blood and drink it, and you will become his members. The body of Christ is the bond which unites you to him: eat it, or you will have no part in him. The blood is the price he paid for your redemption: drink it, lest you despair of your sinfulness.

There is a danger, there is a threat: to have no part in him, to despair. What does it mean today, this “to have no part in him” and “to despair”?

We have no part in him when we are not docile to the Word of the Lord, when we do not live in fraternity among ourselves, when we compete for first place—climbers—when we do not find the courage to witness to charity, when we are incapable of offering hope. This is when we have no part in him. The Eucharist enables us to abide in him, for it is the bond which unites us to him, it is the fulfillment of the Covenant, the living sign of the love of Christ who humbled and lowered himself in order that we remain united. Participating in the Eucharist and being nourished of him, we are included in a journey which admits no division. Christ present in our midst, in the sign of the bread and wine, demands that the power of love overcome every laceration, and at the same time that it also become communion with the poorest, support for the weak, fraternal attention to those who have difficulty in bearing the weight of daily life, and are in danger of losing their faith.

And then the other phrase: what does it mean for us today to “despair,” or to water down our Christian dignity? It means allowing ourselves to be undermined by the idolatries of our time: appearances, consumerism, egocentrism; but also competitiveness, arrogance as a winning attitude, never admitting to mistakes or to being in need. All this leads us to despair, making us mediocre Christians, lukewarm, bland, pagans.

Jesus poured out his Blood as the price and the laver, so that we might be purified of all sin: not to lose hope, let us look to Him, drink at his font, to be shielded from the risk of corruption. Then we will feel the grace of transformation: we will always be poor sinners, but the Blood of Christ will free us from our sins and restore our dignity. It will free us from corruption. Not by our merit, with sincere humility, we will be able to bring our brothers the love of our Lord and Savior. We will be his eyes which go in search of Zacchaeus and Mary Magdalene; we will be his hand which soothes those who are sick in body and spirit; we will be his heart which loves those in need of reconciliation, mercy and understanding.

Thus the Eucharist fulfills the Covenant which sanctifies us, purifies us and unites us in worthy communion with God. Thus we learn that the Eucharist is not a prize for the good, but is strength for the weak, for sinners. It is forgiveness, it is the Viaticum that helps us to move forward, to walk.

Today, the Feast of Corpus Christi, we have the joy not only to celebrate this mystery, but also to praise it and sing it through the streets of our City. May the procession we will make at the end of Mass express our gratitude for the whole journey that God has made us travel through the desert of our poverty, to deliver us from servitude, nourishing us with his Love through the Sacrament of his Body and his Blood.

Soon, while we walk along the street, we will feel we are in communion with so many of our brothers and sisters who do not have the freedom to express their faith in the Lord Jesus. Let us feel united with them: let us sing with them, praise with them, adore with them. And let us venerate in our heart those brothers and sisters of whom the supreme sacrifice was demanded for faithfulness to Christ: may their blood united with the Lord’s be a pledge of peace and reconciliation for the entire world.

And let us not forget: “The body of Christ is the bond which unites you to him: eat it, or you will have no part in him. The blood is the price he paid for your redemption: drink it, lest you despair of your sinfulness.”


POPE FRANCIS

ANGELUS

Saint Peter’s Square, Sunday, 7 June 2015

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!

Today in many countries, including Italy, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ or, according to the well known Latin expression, the Solemnity of Corpus Christi.

The Gospel presents the narrative of the institution of the Eucharist, performed by Jesus during the Last Supper in the Upper Room in Jerusalem. On the eve of his redeeming death on the Cross, He fulfilled what had been foretold: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh. ... He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him” (Jn 6:51, 56). Jesus takes the bread in his hands and says “Take; this is my body” (Mk 14:22). With this gesture and with these words, He assigns to the bread a function which is no longer simply that of physical nutrition, but that of making his Person present in the midst of the community of believers.

The Last Supper represents the culmination of Christ’s entire life. It is not only the anticipation of his sacrifice which will be rendered on the Cross, but also the synthesis of a life offered for the salvation of the whole of humanity. Therefore, it is not enough to state that Jesus is present in the Eucharist, but one must see in it the presence of a life given and partake in it. When we take and eat that Bread, we are associated into the life of Jesus, we enter into communion with Him, we commit to achieve communion among ourselves, to transform our life into a gift, especially to the poorest.

Today’s feast evokes this message of solidarity and urges us to welcome the intimate invitation to conversion and to service, love and forgiveness. It urges us to become, with our life, imitators of that which we celebrate in the Liturgy. The Christ, who nourishes us under the consecrated species of bread and wine, is the same One who comes to us in the everyday happenings; He is in the poor person who holds out his hand, in the suffering one who begs for help, in the brother or sister who asks for our availability and awaits our welcome. He is in the child who knows nothing about Jesus or salvation, who does not have faith. He is in every human being, even the smallest and the defenseless.

The Eucharist, source of love for the life of the Church, is the school of charity and solidarity. Those who are nourished by the Bread of Christ cannot remain indifferent to those who do not have their daily bread. Today, we know it is an ever more serious problem.

May the Feast of Corpus Christi increasingly inspire and nurture in each one of us the desire and commitment for a welcoming and supportive society. Let us pour these hopes into the heart of the Virgin Mary, Eucharistic Woman. May she kindle in all the joy of participating in the Holy Mass, especially on Sundays, and the joyful courage to testify to the infinite love of Christ

© Copyright - Libreria Editrice Vaticana



* * * * *


For reflections on the Solemnity of the Sacred Body and Blood of Christ 

 by Pope Benedict XVI,
please scroll down to the bottom of this page.




* * * * *

Monday, May 16, 2016

0469: Reflections on the Solemnity of the Most
Holy Trinity by Pope Francis



Entry 0469: Reflections on the Solemnity of the Most 

Holy Trinity by Pope Francis 



On three occasions during his pontificate, Pope Francis has delivered reflections on the solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity on 26 May 2013, 15 June 2014, and 31 May 2015. Here are the texts of three addresses prior to the recitation of the Regina Caeli and one homily delivered on these occasions.


POPE FRANCIS

ANGELUS

Saint Peter’s Square
Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, Sunday, 26 May 2013

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Good morning! This morning I made my first visit to a parish in the Diocese of Rome. I thank the Lord and I ask you to pray for my pastoral service to this Church of Rome whose mission is to preside in universal charity.

Today is the Sunday of the Most Holy Trinity. The light of Eastertide and of Pentecost renews in us every year the joy and amazement of faith: let us recognize that God is not something vague, our God is not a God “spray,” he is tangible; he is not abstract but has a name: “God is love.” His is not a sentimental, emotional kind of love but the love of the Father who is the origin of all life, the love of the Son who dies on the Cross and is raised, the love of the Spirit who renews human beings and the world. Thinking that God is love does us so much good, because it teaches us to love, to give ourselves to others as Jesus gave himself to us and walks with us. Jesus walks beside us on the road through life.

The Most Holy Trinity is not the product of human reasoning but the face with which God actually revealed himself, not from the heights of a throne, but walking with humanity. It is Jesus himself who revealed the Father to us and who promised us the Holy Spirit. God walked with his people in the history of the People of Israel and Jesus has always walked with us and promised us the Holy Spirit who is fire, who teaches us everything we do not know and from within us guides us, gives us good ideas and good inspirations.

Today we do not praise God for a specific mystery, but for himself, “for his immense glory,” as the liturgical hymn says. We praise him and we thank him because he is Love, and because he calls us to enter into the embrace of his communion which is eternal life.

Let us entrust our praise to the hands of the Virgin Mary. She, the most humble of creatures, thanks to Christ has already arrived at the destination of the earthly pilgrimage: she is already in the glory of the Trinity. For this reason Mary our Mother, Our Lady, shines out for us as a sign of sure hope. She is the Mother of Hope; on our journey, on our way, she is Mother of Hope. She is also the Mother who comforts us, the Mother of consolation and the Mother who accompanies us on the journey. Let us now pray to Our Lady all together, to Our Mother who accompanies us on the way.


VISIT TO THE ROMAN PARISH OF STS ELIZABETH AND ZACHARIAH

HOMILY OF POPE FRANCIS

Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, Sunday, 26 May 2013

At the start of the Eucharistic Celebration, the Holy Father, after the greeting of the parish priest, said:

Dear First Watchman, dear Second Watchman, dear Watchmen,

I like what you said: that the word “outskirts” has a negative connotation but also a positive one. Do you know why? Because we understand reality better from the outskirts not the centre. We understand it better. Also, what you said: about becoming watchmen, wasn’t it?

Thank you for this office, for your work as watchmen. I thank you too for your welcome on this day of the Feast of the Trinity. There are priests here whom you know well, the two secretaries of the Pope, the Pope who is in the Vatican, isn’t he? Today the Bishop of Rome has come here. And these two work hard. But today one of them, Fr Alfred, is celebrating the anniversary of his priestly ordination: 29 years. Give him a round of applause! Let us pray for him and ask for at least another 29 years for him. Shall we? Let us begin Mass like this, with a spirit of devotion, in silence, all praying together for all of us.

Later the Holy Father gave a homily in the form of a dialogue with the children who are First Communicants this year.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In his greeting the Parish Priest reminded me of something beautiful about Our Lady. Our Lady, as soon as she had heard the news that she was to be the Mother of Jesus and the announcement that her cousin Elizabeth was expecting a child—the Gospel says—she went to her in haste, she did not wait. She did not say: “But now I am with child I must take care of my health. My cousin is bound to have friends who can care for her.” Something stirred her and she “went with haste” to Elizabeth (see Lk 1:39). It is beautiful to think this of Our Lady, of our Mother, that she hastens, because she intends to help. She goes to help, she doesn’t go to boast and tell her cousin: “listen, I’m in charge now, because I am the Mother of God!” No, she did not do that. She went to help! And Our Lady is always like this. She is our Mother who always hurries to us whenever we are in need.

It would be beautiful to add to the Litany of Our Lady something like this: “O Lady who goes in haste, pray for us!” It is lovely, isn’t? For she always goes in haste, she does not forget her children. And when her children are in difficulty, when they need something and call on her, she hurries to them. This gives us a security, the security of always having our Mother next to us, beside us. We move forward, we journey more easily in life when our mother is near. Let us think of this grace of Our Lady, this grace that she gives us: of being close to us, but without making us wait for her. Always! She—lets us trust in this—she lives to help us. Our Lady who always hastens, for our sake.

Our Lady also helps us to understand God and Jesus well, to understand Jesus’ life well and God’s life, and to understand properly what the Lord is, what the Lord is like and, God is. I ask you children: “Who knows who God is?” Raise your hand. Tell me? There! Creator of the earth. And how many Gods are there? One? But I have been told that there are three: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit! How can this be explained? Is there one or are there three? One? One? And how is it possible to explain that one is the Father, another the Son and the other the Holy Spirit? Louder, Louder! That girl is right. They are three in one, three Persons in one.

And what does the Father do? The Father is the beginning, the Father who created all things, who created us. What does the Son do? What does Jesus do? Who can tell me what Jesus does? Does he love us? And then? He brings the word of God! Jesus comes to teach us the word of God. This is excellent! And what then? What did Jesus do on earth? He saved us! And Jesus came to give his life for us. The Father creates the world; Jesus saves us.

And what does the Holy Spirit do? He loves us! He gives you love! All the children together: the Father creates all, he creates the world; Jesus saves us; and the Holy Spirit? He loves us! And this is Christian life: talking to the Father, talking to the Son and talking to the Holy Spirit. Jesus has saved us, but he also walks beside us in life. Is this true? And how does he walk? What does he do when he walks beside us in life? This is hard. Anyone who knows this wins the Derby! What does Jesus do when he walks with us? Louder! First: he helps us. He leads us! Very good. He walks with us, he helps us, he leads us and he teaches us to journey on.

And Jesus also gives us the strength to work. Doesn’t he? He sustains us! Good! In difficulty, doesn’t he? And also in our school tasks! He supports us, he helps us, he leads us, he sustains us. That’s it! Jesus always goes with us. Good. But listen, Jesus gives us strength. How does Jesus give us strength? You know this, you know that he gives us strength! Louder, I can’t hear you! In Communion he gives us strength, he really helps us with strength. He comes to us. But when you say, “he gives us Communion,” does a piece of bread make you so strong? Isn’t it bread? Is it bread? This is bread, but is what is on the altar bread? Or isn’t it bread? It seems to be bread. It is not really bread. What is it? It is the Body of Jesus. Jesus comes into our heart.

So let us all think about this: the Father has given us life; Jesus has given us salvation, he accompanies us, he leads us, he supports us, he teaches us; and the Holy Spirit? What does he give us? He loves us! He gives us love. Let us think of God in this way and ask Our Lady, Our Lady our Mother, who always hurries to our aid, to teach us to understand properly what God is like: what the Father is like, what the Son is like, and what the Holy Spirit is like. So be it.


POPE FRANCIS

ANGELUS

Saint Peter’s Square, Sunday, 15 June 2014

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity, which leads us to contemplate and worship the divine life of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit: a life of communion and perfect love, origin and aim of all the universe and of every creature: God. We also recognize in the Trinity the model for the Church, in which we are called to love each other as Jesus loved us. And love is the concrete sign that demonstrates faith in God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And love is the badge of the Christian, as Jesus told us: “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13:35). It’s a contradiction to think of Christians who hate. It’s a contradiction. And the devil always seeks this: to make us hate, because he’s always a troublemaker; he doesn’t know love; God is love!

We are all called to witness and proclaim the message that “God is love,” that God isn’t far and insensitive to our human affairs. He is close to us, always beside us, walking with us to share our joys and our sorrows, our hopes and our struggles. He loves us very much and for that reason he became man, he came into the world not to condemn it, but so the world would be saved through Jesus (see Jn 3:16-17). And this is the love of God in Jesus, this love that is so difficult to understand but that we feel when we draw close to Jesus. And he always forgives us, he always awaits us, he loves us so much. And we feel the love of Jesus and the love of God.

The Holy Spirit, gift of the Risen Jesus, conveys divine life to us and thus lets us enter into the dynamism of the Trinity, which is a dynamism of love, of communion, of mutual service, of sharing. A person who loves others for the very joy of love is a reflection of the Trinity. A family in which each person loves and helps one another is a reflection of the Trinity. A parish in which each person loves and shares spiritual and material effects is a reflection of the Trinity.

True love is boundless, but it knows how to limit itself, to interact with others, to respect the freedom of others. Every Sunday we go to Mass, we celebrate the Eucharist together and the Eucharist is like the “burning bush” in which the Trinity humbly lives and communicates; for this reason the Church placed the feast of Corpus Domini after that of the Trinity. Next Thursday, according to Roman tradition, we’ll celebrate Holy Mass at the Basilica of St John Lateran and then, we’ll have the procession with the Most Holy Sacrament. I invite all Romans and pilgrims to participate in order to express our desire to be “a people made one in the unity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” (St Cyprian). I await everyone next Thursday at 7:00 pm, for the Mass and the Corpus Christi Procession.

May the Virgin Mary, perfect creation of the Trinity, help us to make our whole lives, in small gestures and more important choices, an homage to God, who is Love.


POPE FRANCIS

ANGELUS

Saint Peter’s Square, Sunday, 31 May 2015

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning and happy Sunday!

Today we are celebrating the feast of the Most Holy Trinity, which reminds us of the mystery of one God in three Persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Trinity is the communion of Divine Persons who are one with the others, one for the others, one in the others: this communion is the life of God, the mystery of the love of the Living God. Jesus revealed this mystery to us. He spoke to us of God as the Father; He spoke to us of the Spirit; and He spoke to us of Himself as the Son of God. Thus He revealed this mystery to us. After He rose, He sent the disciples to evangelize to the peoples, He told them to baptize them “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Mt 28:19). This command is entrusted by Christ in all ages to the Church, which has inherited the missionary mandate from the Apostles. He also directs it to each one of us who, through the power of Baptism, are part of his Community.

Therefore, today’s liturgical solemnity, while making us contemplate the amazing mystery from which we come and toward which we are going, renews for us the mission of living in communion with God and living in communion among ourselves on the model of the divine communion. We are called to live not as one without the others, above or against the others, but one with the others, for the others, and in the others. This means to accept and witness in harmony the beauty of the Gospel; experiencing love for one another and for all, sharing joy and suffering, learning to ask and grant forgiveness, appreciating various charisms under the guidance of Pastors. In a word, we have been entrusted with the task of edifying ecclesial communities which increasingly become families, capable of reflecting the splendor of the Trinity and evangelizing not only with the words but with the power of the love of God that lives within us.

The Trinity, as I said, is also the ultimate goal toward which our earthly pilgrimage is directed. The journey of Christian life is indeed essentially a “Trinitarian” journey: the Holy Spirit guides us to full knowledge of Christ’s teachings, and also reminds us what Jesus taught us. Jesus, in turn, came into the world to make the Father known to us, to guide us to Him, to reconcile us with Him. Everything in Christian life revolves around the Mystery of the Trinity and is fulfilled according to this infinite mystery. Therefore, we seek to always hold high the “tone” of our life, remembering what goal, what glory we exist for, work for, struggle for, suffer for; and what immense reward we are called to. This mystery embraces our entire life and our entire Christian being. We remember it, for example, each time we make the sign of the Cross: in the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. And now I invite you, all together, and out loud, to make this sign of the Cross: “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit!”

On this last day of the month of May, the Marian month, let us entrust ourselves to the Virgin Mary. May she who, more than any other being, knew, worshiped, loved the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity, lead us by the hand; help us to grasp in the world’s events the signs of the presence of God, the Father and Son and Holy Spirit; enable us to love the Lord Jesus with all our heart, to walk toward the vision of the Trinity, the marvelous destination toward which our life is drawn. Let us also ask her to help the Church to be the mystery of communion and hospitable community, where all persons, especially the poor and the marginalized, may find welcome and feel themselves the wanted and beloved children of God

© Copyright - Libreria Editrice Vaticana



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For reflections on the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity 

 by Pope Benedict XVI,
please scroll down to the bottom of this page.



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Monday, May 9, 2016

0468: Reflections on Pentecost Sunday
by Pope Francis



Entry 0468: Reflections on Pentecost Sunday 

by Pope Francis (Updated 20 May 2017) 


Ofour occasions during his pontificate, Pope Francis has delivered reflections on Pentecost Sunday, on 19 May 2013, 8 June 2014, 24 May 2015, and 15 May 2016. Here are the texts of four brief reflections prior to the recitation of the prayer Regina Caeli and four homilies delivered by the Holy Father on these occasions.



POPE FRANCIS

REGINA CÆLI

Saint Peter’s Square, Pentecost Sunday, 19 May 2013

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

This celebration of faith is drawing to a close. It began yesterday with the Vigil and culminated this morning with the Eucharist. It was a renewed Pentecost that transformed St Peter’s Square into an Upper Room beneath the open sky. We have relived the experience of the nascent Church, harmonized in prayer with Mary, the Mother of Jesus (see Acts 1:14). In the variety of charisms we too have experienced the beauty of unity, of being one. Moreover, this is an action of the Holy Spirit who creates unity in the Church ever anew.

I would like to thank all the movements, associations, communities and ecclesial groups. You are a gift and a treasure in the Church! This is what you are! I thank all of you who have come from Rome and from so many parts of the world. Always convey the power of the Gospel! Do not be afraid! Always feel joy and enthusiasm for communion in the Church! May the Risen Lord be with you constantly and may Our Lady protect you!

Let us remember in our prayers the populations of Emilia Romagna hit by the earthquake on 20 May last year. I also pray for the Federazione Italiana delle Associazioni di Volontariato in Oncologia [Italian Federation of Volunteer Associations in Oncology]


SOLEMNITY OF PENTECOST

HOMILY OF POPE FRANCIS

Saint Peter’s Square, Sunday, 19 May 2013

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today we contemplate and re-live in the liturgy the outpouring of the Holy Spirit sent by the risen Christ upon his Church; an event of grace which filled the Upper Room in Jerusalem and then spread throughout the world.

But what happened on that day, so distant from us and yet so close as to touch the very depths of our hearts? Luke gives us the answer in the passage of the Acts of the Apostles which we have heard (2:1-11). The evangelist brings us back to Jerusalem, to the Upper Room where the apostles were gathered. The first element which draws our attention is the sound which suddenly came from heaven “like the rush of a violent wind,” and filled the house; then the “tongues as of fire” which divided and came to rest on each of the apostles. Sound and tongues of fire: these are clear, concrete signs which touch the apostles not only from without but also within: deep in their minds and hearts. As a result, “all of them were filled with the Holy Spirit,” who unleashed his irresistible power with amazing consequences: they all “began to speak in different languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.” A completely unexpected scene opens up before our eyes: a great crowd gathers, astonished because each one heard the apostles speaking in his own language. They all experience something new, something which had never happened before: “We hear them, each of us, speaking our own language.” And what is it that they are they speaking about? “God’s deeds of power.”

In the light of this passage from Acts, I would like to reflect on three words linked to the working of the Holy Spirit: newness, harmony and mission.

1. Newness always makes us a bit fearful, because we feel more secure if we have everything under control, if we are the ones who build, program and plan our lives in accordance with our own ideas, our own comfort, our own preferences. This is also the case when it comes to God. Often we follow him, we accept him, but only up to a certain point. It is hard to abandon ourselves to him with complete trust, allowing the Holy Spirit to be the soul and guide of our lives in our every decision. We fear that God may force us to strike out on new paths and leave behind our all too narrow, closed and selfish horizons in order to become open to his own. Yet throughout the history of salvation, whenever God reveals himself, he brings newness—God always brings newness—and demands our complete trust: Noah, mocked by all, builds an ark and is saved; Abram leaves his land with only a promise in hand; Moses stands up to the might of Pharaoh and leads his people to freedom; the apostles, huddled fearfully in the Upper Room, go forth with courage to proclaim the Gospel. This is not a question of novelty for novelty’s sake, the search for something new to relieve our boredom, as is so often the case in our own day. The newness which God brings into our life is something that actually brings fulfilment, that gives true joy, true serenity, because God loves us and desires only our good. Let us ask ourselves today: Are we open to “God’s surprises”? Or are we closed and fearful before the newness of the Holy Spirit? Do we have the courage to strike out along the new paths which God’s newness sets before us, or do we resist, barricaded in transient structures which have lost their capacity for openness to what is new? We would do well to ask ourselves these questions all through the day.

2. A second thought: the Holy Spirit would appear to create disorder in the Church, since he brings the diversity of charisms and gifts; yet all this, by his working, is a great source of wealth, for the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of unity, which does not mean uniformity, but which leads everything back to harmony. In the Church, it is the Holy Spirit who creates harmony. One of Fathers of the Church has an expression which I love: The Holy Spirit himself is harmony, “Ipse harmonia est.” He is indeed harmony. Only the Spirit can awaken diversity, plurality and multiplicity, while at the same time building unity. Here too, when we are the ones who try to create diversity and close ourselves up in what makes us different and other, we bring division. When we are the ones who want to build unity in accordance with our human plans, we end up creating uniformity, standardization. But if instead we let ourselves be guided by the Spirit, richness, variety and diversity never become a source of conflict, because he impels us to experience variety within the communion of the Church. Journeying together in the Church, under the guidance of her pastors who possess a special charism and ministry, is a sign of the working of the Holy Spirit. Having a sense of the Church is something fundamental for every Christian, every community and every movement. It is the Church which brings Christ to me, and me to Christ; parallel journeys are very dangerous! When we venture beyond (proagon) the Church’s teaching and community—the Apostle John tells us in his Second Letter—and do not remain in them, we are not one with the God of Jesus Christ (see 2 Jn v. 9). So, let us ask ourselves: Am I open to the harmony of the Holy Spirit, overcoming every form of exclusivity? Do I let myself be guided by him, living in the Church and with the Church?

3. A final point. The older theologians used to say that the soul is a kind of sailboat, the Holy Spirit is the wind which fills its sails and drives it forward, and the gusts of wind are the gifts of the Spirit. Lacking his impulse and his grace, we do not go forward. The Holy Spirit draws us into the mystery of the living God and saves us from the threat of a Church which is gnostic and self-referential, closed in on herself; he impels us to open the doors and go forth to proclaim and bear witness to the good news of the Gospel, to communicate the joy of faith, the encounter with Christ. The Holy Spirit is the soul of mission. The events that took place in Jerusalem almost two thousand years ago are not something far removed from us; they are events which affect us and become a lived experience in each of us. The Pentecost of the Upper Room in Jerusalem is the beginning, a beginning which endures. The Holy Spirit is the supreme gift of the risen Christ to his apostles, yet he wants that gift to reach everyone. As we heard in the Gospel, Jesus says: “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to remain with you forever” (Jn 14:16). It is the Paraclete Spirit, the “Comforter,” who grants us the courage to take to the streets of the world, bringing the Gospel! The Holy Spirit makes us look to the horizon and drive us to the very outskirts of existence in order to proclaim life in Jesus Christ. Let us ask ourselves: do we tend to stay closed in on ourselves, on our group, or do we let the Holy Spirit open us to mission? Today let us remember these three words: newness, harmony and mission.

Today’s liturgy is a great prayer which the Church, in union with Jesus, raises up to the Father, asking him to renew the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. May each of us, and every group and movement, in the harmony of the Church, cry out to the Father and implore this gift. Today too, as at her origins, the Church, in union with Mary, cries out: “Veni, Sancte Spiritus! Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and kindle in them the fire of your love!” Amen.


POPE FRANCIS

REGINA CAELI

St. Peter’s Square, Pentecost Sunday, 8 June 2014

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!

The Feast of Pentecost commemorates the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles gathered in the Upper Room. Like Easter, this event took place on a preexisting Jewish feast and ended with a surprise. The Acts of the Apostles describes the signs and fruits of that extraordinary outpouring: the strong wind and tongues of fire; fear disappeared, leaving courage in its place; tongues melted and everyone understood the message. Wherever the Spirit of God reaches, everything is reborn and transfigured. Pentecost is the event that signals the birth of the Church and her public manifestation; and two features strike us: the Church astounds and confuses.

A fundamental element of Pentecost is astonishment. Our God is a God of astonishment, this we know. No one expected anything more from the disciples: after Jesus’ death they were a small, insignificant group of defeated orphans of their Master. There occurred instead an unexpected event that astounded: the people were astonished because each of them heard the disciples speaking in their own tongues, telling of the great works of God (see Acts 2:6-7, 11). The Church born at Pentecost is an astounding community because, with the force of her arrival from God, a new message is proclaimed—the Resurrection of Christ—with a new language—the universal one of love. A new proclamation: Christ lives, he is risen; a new language: the language of love. The disciples are adorned with power from above and speak with courage—only minutes before they all were cowardly, but now they speak with courage and candor, with the freedom of the Holy Spirit.

Thus, the Church is called into being forever: capable of astounding while proclaiming to all that Jesus Christ has conquered death, that God’s arms are always open, that his patience is always there awaiting us in order to heal us, to forgive us. The risen Jesus bestowed his Spirit on the Church for this very mission.

Take note: if the Church is alive, she must always surprise. It is incumbent upon the living Church to astound. A Church which is unable to astound is a Church that is weak, sick, dying, and that needs admission to the intensive care unit as soon as possible!

Some in Jerusalem would have liked for Jesus’ disciples, frozen in fear, to remain locked inside so as not to create confusion. Even today, many would like this from the Christians. Instead, the risen Lord pushes them into the world: “As the Father has sent me, even so I send you” (Jn 20:21). The Church of the Pentecost is a Church that won’t submit to being powerless, too “distilled.” No, she doesn’t submit to this! She doesn’t want to be a decoration. She is a Church that doesn’t hesitate to go out, meet the people, proclaim the message that’s been entrusted to her, even if that message disturbs or unsettles the conscience, even if that message perhaps brings problems and sometimes leads to martyrdom. She is born one and universal, with a distinct identity, but open, a Church that embraces the world but doesn’t seize it; she sets it free, but embraces it like the colonnade in this Square: two arms that open to receive, but that don’t close to detain. We Christians are free, and the Church wants us free!

We turn to the Virgin Mary, who in that Pentecost morning was in the Upper Room, the Mother with her children. In her, the force of the Holy Spirit truly accomplished “great things” (Lk 1:49). She herself said so. May she, the Mother of the Redeemer and Mother of the Church, obtain through her intercession a renewed outpouring of God’s Spirit upon the Church and upon the world.


SOLEMNITY OF PENTECOST

HOMILY OF POPE FRANCIS

Vatican Basilica, Sunday, 8 June 2014

“They were all filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:4).

Speaking to the Apostles at the Last Supper, Jesus said that after he left this world he would send them the gift of the Father, that is, the Holy Spirit (see Jn 15:26). This promise was powerfully fulfilled on the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples, who were gathered in the Upper Room. This extraordinary outpouring was not limited solely to that moment, but was an event that was renewed and still continues to be renewed. Christ glorified at the right hand of the Father continues to fulfill his promise, sending upon the Church the life-giving Spirit, who teaches us, reminds us, and lets us speak.

The Holy Spirit teaches us: he is the Interior Master. He guides us along the right path, through life’s challenges. He teaches us the path, the way. In the early times of the Church, Christianity was called “the way” (see Acts 9:2), and Jesus himself is the Way. The Holy Spirit teaches us to follow him, to walk in his footprints. More than a master of doctrine, the Holy Spirit is a master of life. And he surely takes part in life as well as in knowledge, but within the broadest and most harmonious horizons of Christian existence.

The Holy Spirit reminds us, he reminds us of all that Jesus said. He is the living memory of the Church, and when he reminds us, he helps us to understand the words of the Lord.

This remembrance in the Spirit and by virtue of the Spirit is not reduced to a mnemonic fact; it is an essential aspect of Christ’s presence within us and within his Church. The Spirit of truth and charity reminds us of all that Christ said, and helps us to enter ever more fully into the meaning of his words. We all have this experience: one moment, in any situation, there is an idea and then another connects with a passage from Scripture. It is the Spirit who leads us to take this path: the path of the living memory of the Church. And he asks us for a response: the more generous our response, the more Jesus’ words become life within us, becoming attitudes, choices, actions, testimony. In essence the Spirit reminds of the commandment of love, and calls us to live it.

A Christian without memory is not a true Christian but only halfway there: a man or a woman, a prisoner of the moment, who doesn’t know how to treasure his or her history, doesn’t know how to read it and live it as salvation history. With the help of the Holy Spirit, however, we are able to interpret interior inspirations and life events in light of Jesus’ words. And thus, within us grows the knowledge of memory, knowledge of the heart, which is a gift of the Spirit. May the Holy Spirit rekindle the Christian memory within all of us! And there that day with the Apostles was our Lady of Memory, who from the beginning meditated on all those things in her heart. Mary, our Mother, was there. May she help us on this path of memory.

The Holy Spirit teaches us, reminds us, and—another aspect—lets us speak, with God and with men. There are no muted Christians, mute of soul; no, there’s no place for this.

He lets us speak with God in prayer. Prayer is a gift that we freely receive; dialoguing with him in the Holy Spirit, who prays in us and allows us to address God, calling him Father, Dad, Abba. (See Rm 8:15; Gal 4:4); and this is not merely an “expression” but a reality: we truly are children of God. “All who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God” (Rm 8:14).

He lets us speak in the act of faith. Without the Holy Spirit, none of us is able to say: “Jesus is Lord”—we heard this today. It is the Spirit who lets us speak with people in fraternal dialogue. He lets us speak with others, recognizing them as brothers and sisters; to speak with friendship, with tenderness, with compassion, understanding the heartaches and hopes, the sorrows and joys of others.

But there’s more: The Holy Spirit also lets us speak to men through prophecy, making us humble and docile “channels” of God’s Word. Prophecy is made with candor, to openly demonstrate the contradictions and injustices, but always with compassion and constructive intent. Charged with the Spirit of love, we can be signs and instruments of God who loves, who serves, who gives life.

In summary: The Holy Spirit teaches us the way; he reminds us of and explains Jesus’ words; he lets us pray and say “Father” to God, and lets us speak to men and women in fraternal dialogue and lets us speak in prophecy.

The day of Pentecost, when the disciples “were all filled with the Holy Spirit,” was the baptism of the Church, which was born in “going out,” in “departure” to proclaim the Good News to everyone. The Mother Church, who departs in order to serve. Let us remember the other Mother, our Mother who sets out in haste to serve. Mother Church and Mother Mary: both virgins, both mothers, both women. Jesus was peremptory with the Apostles: do not depart from Jerusalem, but wait until you have received the power of the Holy Spirit from above (see Acts 1:4-8). Without Him there is no mission, there is no evangelization. For this, with the whole Church, with our Mother Catholic Church, let us implore: Come, Holy Spirit!


POPE FRANCIS

REGINA CÆLI

Saint Peter’s Square, Pentecost Sunday, 24 May 2015

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning,

The feast of Pentecost makes us relive the Church’s beginnings. The Book of the Acts of the Apostles tells that, 50 days after Easter, in the house where Jesus’ disciples were, “suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit” (2:2-4). The disciples are completely transformed by this outpouring: fear is supplanted by courage, imperviousness gives way to the proclamation, and all doubt is driven away by faith filled with love. It is the “baptism” of the Church, which thus began her journey in history, guided by the power of the Holy Spirit.

This event, which changes the heart and life of the Apostles and the other disciples, is immediately felt outside the Upper Room. Indeed, that door kept locked for 50 days is finally thrust open and the first Christian Community, no longer closed in upon itself, begins speaking to crowds of different origins about the mighty works that God has done (see v. 11), that is to say, of the Resurrection of Jesus who was crucified. Each one present hears his own language being spoken by the disciples. The gift of the Holy Spirit restores the linguistic harmony that was lost in Babel, prefiguring the universal mission of the Apostles. The Church is not born isolated, she is born universal, one, and Catholic, with a precise identity, open to all, not closed, an identity which embraces the entire world, excluding no one. Mother Church closes her door in the face of no one, no one! Not even to the greatest sinner, to no one! This is through the power, through the grace of the Holy Spirit. Mother Church opens, opens wide her doors to everyone because she is mother.

The Holy Spirit at Pentecost pours into the hearts of the disciples and begins a new season: the season of testimony and fraternity. It is a season which comes from above, comes from God, like the tongues of fire that rest on the head of each disciple. It was the flame of love which burns all harshness; it was the tongue of the Gospel which surpasses manmade borders and reaches the hearts of the multitudes, without distinction of language, race or nationality. As on that day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit is poured out constantly even today on the Church and on each one of us so we may step outside of our mediocrity and our imperviousness and communicate to the entire world the merciful love of the Lord. Communicating the merciful love of the Lord: this is our mission! We too have been given the gift of the “tongue” of the Gospel and the “fire” of the Holy Spirit, so that while we proclaim Jesus risen, living and present in our midst, we may warm our heart and also the heart of the peoples drawing near to Him, the way, truth and life.

Let us entrust ourselves to the maternal intercession of Mary Most Holy, who was present as Mother in the midst of the disciples in the Upper Room: she is the mother of the Church, the mother of Jesus became mother of the Church. Let us entrust ourselves to Her that the Holy Spirit may descend in abundance upon the Church of our time, fill the hearts of all the faithful and kindle in them the fire of his love.


SOLEMNITY OF PENTECOST

HOMILY OF POPE FRANCIS

Vatican Basilica, Sunday, 24 May 2015

“As the Father has sent me, even so I send you. Receive the Holy Spirit” (Jn 20:21-22); this is what Jesus says to us. The gift of the Spirit on the evening of the Resurrection took place once again on the day of Pentecost, intensified this time by extraordinary outward signs. On the evening of Easter, Jesus appeared to the Apostles and breathed on them his Spirit (see Jn 20:22); 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: “They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:4). 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.

The word of God, especially in today’s readings, tells us that the Spirit is at work in individuals and communities filled with himself; the Spirit makes them capable of recipere Deum [receiving God], capax Dei [with the capacity for God], as the holy Church Fathers say. And what does the Holy Spirit do with this new capability which he gives us? He guides us into all the truth (see Jn 16:13), he renews the face of the earth (Ps 103:30), and he gives us his fruits (see Gal 5:22-23). He guides, he renews and he makes fruitful.

In the Gospel, Jesus promises his disciples that, when he has returned to the Father, the Holy Spirit will come to guide them into all the truth (see Jn 16:13). Indeed, he calls the Holy Spirit “the Spirit of truth,” and explains to his disciples that the Spirit will bring them to understand ever more clearly what he, the Messiah, has said and done, especially in regard to his death and resurrection. 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 paralyzed 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.

Then the Holy Spirit renews—guides and renews—renews the earth. The Psalmist says: “You send forth your Spirit, and you renew the face of the earth” (Ps 103:30). The account of the birth of the Church in the Acts of the Apostles is significantly linked to this Psalm, which is a great hymn of praise to God the Creator. The Holy Spirit whom Christ sent from the Father, and the Creator Spirit who gives life to all things, are one and the same. 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 (see Gen 2:15). 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, 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, as another Psalm says: “How great is your name, O Lord our God, through all the earth!” (Ps 8:2, 10). He guides, he renews and he gives; he gives fruits.

In the Letter to the Galatians, Saint Paul wants to show the “fruits” manifested in the lives of those who walk in the way of the Spirit (see Gal 5:22). On the one hand, he presents “the flesh,” with its list of attendant vices: the works of selfish people closed to God. On the other hand, there are those who by faith allow the Spirit of God to break into their lives. In them, God’s gifts blossom, summed up in nine joyful virtues which Paul calls “fruits of the Spirit.” Hence his appeal, at the start and the end of the reading, as a program for life: “Walk by the Spirit” (Gal 5:6, 25).

The world needs men and women who are not closed in on themselves, but filled with the Holy Spirit. Closing oneself off from the Holy Spirit means not only a lack of freedom; it is a sin. There are many ways one can close oneself off to the Holy Spirit: by selfishness for one’s own gain; by rigid legalism—seen in the attitude of the doctors of the law to whom Jesus referred as “hypocrites;” by neglect of what Jesus taught; by living the Christian life not as service to others but in the pursuit of personal interests; and in so many other ways. However, the world needs the courage, hope, faith and perseverance of Christ’s followers. The world needs the fruits, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, as Saint Paul lists them: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal 5:22). 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. 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.


POPE FRANCIS

REGINA CÆLI

Saint Peter’s Square, Pentecost Sunday, 15 May 2016

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!

Today we celebrate the great feast of Pentecost, which completes the Season of Easter, 50 days after the Resurrection of Christ. The liturgy invites us to open our mind and our heart to the gift of the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus promised on several occasions to his disciples: the first and most important gift that he obtained for us with his Resurrection. Jesus himself asked the Father for this gift, as today’s Gospel Reading attests, during the Last Supper. Jesus says to his disciples: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you forever” (Jn 14:15-16).

These words remind us first of all that love for a person, and for the Lord, is shown not with words but with deeds; and also, “observing the commandments” should be understood in the existential sense, so as to embrace the whole of life. In fact, being Christian does not mean mainly belonging to a certain culture or adhering to a certain doctrine, but rather joining one’s own life, in all its aspects, to the person of Jesus and, through Him, to the Father. For this purpose, Jesus promises the outpouring of the Holy Spirit to his disciples. Owing to the Holy Spirit, to the Love that unites the Father and the Son and proceeds from them, we may all live the very life of Jesus. The Spirit, in fact, teaches us all things, that is, the single indispensable thing: to love as God loves.

In promising the Holy Spirit, Jesus defines him as “another Counselor” (v. 16), which means Paraclete, Advocate, Intercessor, in other words, the One who helps us, protects us, is at our side on the journey of life and in the struggle for good and that against evil. Jesus says “another Counselor” because He is the first, He himself, who became flesh precisely to take our human condition upon himself and free it from the slavery of sin.

Moreover, the Holy Spirit plays a role in teaching and remembrance. Teaching and remembrance. Jesus told us: “the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (v. 26). The Holy Spirit does not bring a different teaching, but renders alive and brings into effect the teaching of Jesus, so that the passage of time may neither erase nor diminish it. The Holy Spirit instills this teaching in our heart, helps us to internalize it, making it become a part of us, flesh of our flesh. At the same time, he prepares our heart to be truly capable of receiving the words and example of the Lord. Every time the word of Jesus is received with joy in our heart, this is the work of the Holy Spirit.

Let us pray the Regina Caeli together—for the last time this year—invoking the maternal intercession of the Virgin Mary. May she obtain for us the grace to be deeply inspired by the Holy Spirit, to witness with evangelical simplicity to Christ, opening ourselves ever more fully to his love.


SOLEMNITY OF PENTECOST

HOMILY OF POPE FRANCIS

Vatican Basilica, Sunday, 15 May 2016

“I will not leave you orphans” (Jn 14:18).

The central purpose of Jesus mission, which culminated in the gift of the Holy Spirit, was to renew our relationship with the Father, a relationship severed by sin, to take us from our state of being orphaned children and to restore us as his sons and daughters.

The Apostle Paul, writing to the Christians in Rome, says: “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship, which enables us to cry out, ‘Abba, Father’” (Rom 8:14-15). Here we see our relationship renewed: the paternity of God is re-established in us thanks to the redemptive work of Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The Spirit is given to us by the Father and leads us back to the Father. The entire work of salvation is one of “re-generation,” in which the fatherhood of God, through the gift of the Son and the Holy Spirit, frees us from the condition of being orphans into which we had fallen. In our own day also, we see various signs of our being orphans: in the interior loneliness which we feel even when we are surrounded by people, a loneliness which can become an existential sadness; in the attempt to be free of God, even if accompanied by a desire for his presence; in the all-too-common spiritual illiteracy which renders us incapable of prayer; in the difficulty in grasping the truth and reality of eternal life as that fullness of communion which begins on earth and reaches full flower after death; in the effort to see others as “brothers” and “sisters”, since we are children of the same Father; and other such signs.

Being children of God runs contrary to all this and is our primordial vocation. We were made to be God’s children, it is in our DNA. But this filial relationship was ruined and required the sacrifice of God’s only-begotten Son in order to be restored. From the immense gift of love which is Jesus’ death on the cross, the Holy Spirit has been poured out upon humanity like a vast torrent of grace. Those who by faith are immersed into this mystery of regeneration are reborn to the fullness of filial life.

“I will not leave you orphans.” Today, on the feast of Pentecost, Jesus’ words remind us also of the maternal presence of Mary in the Upper Room. The Mother of Jesus is with the community of disciples gathered in prayer: she is the living remembrance of the Son and the living invocation of the Holy Spirit. She is the Mother of the Church. We entrust to her intercession, in a particular way, all Christians, families and communities that at this moment are most in need of the Spirit, the Paraclete, the Defender and Comforter, the Spirit of truth, freedom and peace.

The Spirit, as Saint Paul says, unites us to Christ: “Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him” (Rom 8:9). Strengthening our relationship of belonging to the Lord Jesus, the Spirit enables us to enter into a new experience of fraternity. By means of our universal Brother—Jesus—we can relate to one another in a new way; no longer as orphans, but rather as children of the same good and merciful Father. And this changes everything! We can see each other as brothers and sisters whose differences can only increase our joy and wonder at sharing in this unique fatherhood and brotherhood


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