Sunday, June 4, 2006

Feast of Pentecost - 2006

The People of God, who found their first configuration on Sinai, have now been enlarged to the extent that they are no longer bound by any borders of race or culture, of space or time. As opposed to what happened with the tower of Babel (cfr Gen. 11:1-9), when men who wanted to build a path to heaven with their own hands, ended up by destroying their own capacity for mutual understanding, in Pentecost, the Spirit, with the gift of tongues, reveals how his presence unites and transforms confusion into communion. The pride and egotism of man always create division and build walls of indifference, of hate and of violence. The Holy Spirit, on the contrary, makes hearts capable of understanding the languages of all, because it re-establishes the bridge of authentic communion between Earth and Heaven. The Holy Spirit is love.

But how to enter into the mystery of the Holy Spirit, how to understand the secret of Love? The pages of today’s Gospel take us today to the Cenacle where, once the last Supper was over, a sense of confusion saddened the Apostles. The reason was that the words of Jesus had raised worrying questions: He talked about hatred of the world for him and his followers, he talked about his mysterious departure and there were many other things yet to be said, but for the time being, the Apostles were not capable of carrying the burden (cfr Jn:16:32). To tackle them, he explains the meaning of his distance: he will leave, but he will return; in the meantime, he will not abandon them, he will not leave them orphans. He will send the Consoler, the Spirit of the Father, and it will be the Spirit who will lead them to understand that the work of Christ is a labour of love: the love of He who has sacrificed himself, the love of the Father who gave him up.

This is the mystery of Pentecost: the Holy Spirit enlightens the human spirit, and, revealing the crucified and resurrected Christ, shows the way to becoming more like Him, that is, to being ‘an expression and instrument of the love that emanates from him’ (Deus Caritas Est, 33). Gathered together with Mary, as it was at the time of its birth, the Church today prays: ‘Veni Sancte Spiritus! – Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love!’ Amen.

Pope Benedict XVI - Homily on the Feast of Pentecost (2006). (Link via Amy Welborn).

More Pentecost Reflections:

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