Pope Francis' homily on Pentecost

If those who want to kill Christians believe they are one, he said, it is urgent that Christians be "united by the work of the Holy Spirit in prayer and in action on behalf of those who are weaker".

With our church picnic immediately following the last Mass on Pentecost Sunday, it is recommended that the attendees of the picnic wear something red, whether it is a red shirt, red shorts/pants or a red hat, because red symbolizes the fire in our hearts and the presence of the Holy Spirit, not only at Mass, but at the parish picnic, too! As Jesus had promised, they left that upper room filled with the Holy Spirit and His power to witness boldly to the gospel of Jesus Christ and turn the world upside down.

Through and by our baptism, all Christians have already received the Holy Spirit, but have we grown in the Spirit?

Worship is at 9 a.m. followed by refreshments and Bible Study at 10:30 a.m. "This is what we need to reinvent the church", he said.

Receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit, the apostles received their mission, to be strong and full of faith as they went out to evangelize. We become avid supporters for one side, rather than brothers and sisters in the one Spirit.

"The first temptation seeks diversity without unity", he said.

Next to the pope on the big stage, under the sign "Jesus is Lord" in several languages, stood Michelle Moran and Gilberto Barbosa, respectively presidents of the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services (ICCRS) and of Catholic Fraternity, which organised the meeting, and Rev Giovanni Traettino of the Pentecostal Church of Reconciliation in Caserta, a friend of the pontiff from the times the latter was archbishop of Buenos Aires. Unity ends up being homogeneity and no longer freedom.

"It was born ecumenical because it is the Holy Spirit who creates unity", the pope said. Just so, St. Paul reminds us that the Holy Spirit is given to individuals as well as to the church.

It is the celebration of Jesus sending the gift of the Holy Spirit to the apostles, to the church and to us, the baptized sons and daughters of the church.

Now we come to the second new thing brought by the Spirit: a new heart. Here we see the beginning of the Church, the glue that holds us together, the cement that binds the bricks of the house: forgiveness. He described "forgiveness" as a "gift to the highest degree; it is the greatest love of all". It preserves unity despite everything, prevents collapse, and consolidates and strengthens.

He reminded believers that "forgiveness gives hope; without forgiveness, the Church is not built up".

"Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit". Come down upon us anew, teach us unity, renew our hearts and teach us to love as you love us, to forgive as you forgive us.

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