ROME – Noting that the world today is one of contradictions and stark divisions, where there are “those who want to live to a hundred and those who cannot even be born,” Pope Francis said on Sunday that the Holy Spirit brings “harmony” because he’s a specialist in changing chaos into cosmos.
“In the age of the computer, distances are increasing: the more we use the social media, the less social we are becoming,” Francis said. “We need the Spirit of unity to regenerate us as Church, as God’s People and as a human family.”
According to the pope, humanity has the temptation to build “nests,” clinging to each one’s little group, focused only on the people and things we like, “to resist all contamination.”
“It is only a small step from a nest to a sect: How many times do we define our identity in opposition to someone or something!” he said.
Francis was speaking during Pentecost Mass in St. Peter’s Square, which commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles.
The pontiff also said that the Holy Spirit not only brings harmony within people, but also among them, building unity in the Church on the basis of variety: “Varieties of gifts, varieties of services, varieties of activities.”
It’s the lack of harmony in today’s world that has led to stark divisions, but the Holy Spirit continues to “bring together those who were distant, unite those far off, bring home those who were scattered,” because all he sees is “goodness,” Francis said.
“He looks at individuals before looking at their mistakes, at persons before their actions,” he continued, saying that for the Spirit, the Church and the world are places for sons and daughters, brothers and sisters.
Those who live by the Spirit, the pontiff said, instead of “repaying evil for evil, passing from victims to aggressors,” bring peace where there is discord.
“Those who are spiritual repay evil with good,” he said. “They respond to arrogance with meekness, to malice with goodness, to shouting with silence, to gossip with prayer, to defeatism with encouragement.”
Moved by the “harmony” of the Holy Spirit, the Church becomes the holy People of God, with the mission of spreading the joy of knowing all are “loved by the same Father.” However, without the Spirit, Francis argued, “the Church becomes an organization, her mission becomes propaganda, her communion an exertion.”
The peace that comes from receiving the Holy Spirit, Francis said, is so deep that “it can even turn persecutions into blessings,” yet many times, instead of seeking the Spirit, “we try to keep afloat, thinking that everything will improve once this or that problem is over, once I no longer see that person, once things get better.”
“But to do so is to stay on the surface: When one problem goes away, another arrives, and once more we grow anxious and ill at ease,” Francis said. “Avoiding those who do not think as we do will not bring serenity. Resolving momentary problems will not bring peace. What makes a difference is the peace of Jesus, the harmony of the Spirit.”
In the frenzy of today’s world, Francis told the thousands who were in the square, “we look for the quick fix, popping one pill after another to keep going, one thrill after another to feel alive.”
But nothing brings harmony as the Spirit, whose “peace in the midst of restlessness, confidence in the midst of discouragement, join in sadness, young in aging, courage in the hour of our trial.”
Towards the end of his homily, Francis noted that even though the Spirit is both the first and final thing the Church needs, it only goes where he is invited.
Follow Inés San Martín on Twitter: @inesanma
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