reflections, updates and homilies from Deacon Mike Talbot inspired by the following words from my ordination: Receive the Gospel of Christ whose herald you have become. Believe what you read, teach what you believe and practice what you teach...
Pope on Pentecost: Let us invoke the Spirit daily upon our whole world
In his homily for the Solemnity of Pentecost, Pope Francis calls on us to invoke daily the Spirit who gives "harmony to the world" and "directs the course of time and renews the face of the earth."
By Thaddeus Jones
At the Mass on this Solemnity of Pentecost celebrated in Saint Peter's Basilica, Pope Francis in his homily highlighted how the Holy Spirit acts in the world he created, in the Church, and in our hearts, bringing order and harmony in all spheres.
“That is the role of the Spirit: at the beginning and at all times, he makes created realities pass from disorder to order, from dispersion to cohesion, from confusion to harmony.”
Holy Spirit brings harmony, peace
In bringing harmony to the world, the Spirit “directs the course of time and renews the face of the earth," the Pope explained. And our world today, marked by discord and divisions, desperately needs this harmony it is resisting, he lamented, noting how while we may be more "connected," we are in reality more cut off from one another "anaesthetized by indifference." He pointed out how the many wars and conflicts we witness today show the magnitude of evil individuals are capable of committing, hostilities fueled by the spirit of division, the devil, meaning "divider."
But to counter this evil of discord, the Pope recounted how the Lord at the culmination of salvation poured out his good Spirit to give us the harmony we need for true peace. The Holy Spirit brings harmony, as "the Spirit of unity, the bringer of peace", he emphasised.
“Let us invoke the Spirit daily upon our whole world!”
Harmony out of diversity
Looking at how the Holy Spirit works in the Church, starting from the day of Pentecost, the Pope described how the Spirit descended upon each apostle giving each one special graces and unique charisms. And while one might think these differing gifts might create confusion, in reality, as in the created world, " the Holy Spirit loves to create harmony out of diversity."
“The harmony of the Spirit is not a mandatory, uniform order; in the Church, there is indeed an order, but it is “structured in accordance with the diversity of the Spirit’s gifts””
Recalling how at Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended in tongues of fire allowing each apostle to speak in other languages with others able to hear and understand them, the Pope explained how the Spirit uses many languages and does not eliminate differences or cultures "but harmonizes everything without reducing them to bland uniformity."
“Indeed, on that day of Pentecost, as the Scripture emphasizes, “all were filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:4). All were filled: that is how the life of the Church began, not from a precise and detailed plan, but from the shared experience of God’s love. That is how the Spirit creates harmony; he invites us to experience amazement at his love and at his gifts present in others.”
Recalling the synodal journey underway in the Church, the Pope said this path should mark "a journey in accordance with the Spirit," and above all an "opportunity to be docile to the breath of the Spirit" as he is "the heart of synodality, the driving force of evangelization."
“Without (the Spirit), the Church is lifeless, faith is mere doctrine, morality mere duty, pastoral work mere toil. With him, on the other hand, faith is life, the love of the Lord convinces us, and hope is reborn. Let us put the Holy Spirit back at the centre of the Church.”
The Pope added that the synodal process offers the People of God a unique opportunity to journey together, filled with the Spirit, to build harmony in the Church and be renewed.
Harmony in our hearts
In conclusion, the Pope explained how the Spirit "restores harmony in the heart" as he creates "intimacy with God." The Lord bestowed the Spirit "to forgive sins, to reconcile minds and to harmonize hearts wounded by evil, broken by hurts, led astray by feelings of guilt."
“If we want harmony let us seek him, not worldly substitutes. Let us invoke the Holy Spirit each day. Let us begin our day by praying to him. Let us become docile to him!”
The Pope then said it would be good to examine our own lives and ask if we are open to the harmony of the Spirit, or if we resist being transformed by him sticking to our own pursuits and ideas. Are we quick to judge others, overlooking our own weaknesses, he asked, and do we try to foster reconciliation and build communion? To overcome our own divisions, he said, "Let us invoke the Spirit," praying that "Holy Spirit, Spirit of Jesus and of the Father, inexhaustible wellspring of harmony, to You we entrust the world; to You, we consecrate the Church and our hearts."
“Come, Creator Spirit, harmony of humanity, renew the face of the earth. Come, Gift of gifts, harmony of the Church, make us one in you. Come, Spirit of forgiveness and harmony of the heart, transform us as only You can, through the intercession of Mary.”