MORNING MASS IN THE CHAPEL OF THE
DOMUS SANCTAE MARTHAE
HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
"The Holy Spirit: Master of Harmony"
Tuesday, 21 April 2020
There is a lot of silence at the moment. The silence can even be heard. May this silence, which is somewhat new to what we are accustomed, teach us how to listen, so that we might grow in our ability to listen. Let us pray for this.
To be born from above is to be born with the strength of the Holy Spirit. We cannot keep the Holy Spirit for ourselves; we can only allow Him to transform us. And our docility opens the door to the Holy Spirit; it is He who changes us, who works this transformation in us, this rebirth from on high. This is the promise that Jesus makes: to send the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is capable of wondrous things that we cannot even imagine.
An example is this first Christian community, which is not a fantasy, this is what they say here: it is a model, at which we can arrive when there is docility and one allows the Holy Spirit to enter and to transform. An ideal community, let’s say. It is true that immediately after this, problems begin, but the Lord makes us see up to what point we can arrive if we are open to the Holy Spirit, if we are docile.
There is harmony in this community. The Holy Spirit is the master of harmony; He is capable of making it, and He has made it happen here. It is what needs to happen in our hearts, many things in us must change to create harmony, because He Himself is harmony. Also the harmony between the Father and the Son: it is He, the love of harmony. And He, with harmony, creates these things such as this community, which was so harmonious. But then, history tells us - the same Book of the Acts of the Apostles - of many problems in the community. This is a model: the Lord has permitted this model of an almost “heavenly” community, to make us see where we should arrive.
But then the divisions began to appear in the community. The Apostle James, in the second chapter of his Letter, says: “”May your faith be immune from personal favouritism” (see James 2:1) because it was there. “Do not discriminate”: the Apostles had to come out and admonish. And Paul, in the first Letter to the Corinthians, in Chapter 11, laments: “I have heard that there are divisions among you” (see I Cor 11:18). Internal divisions begin in the community. We need to arrive at this ideal, but it is not easy. There are many things that divide a community, be it a Christian community, a parish community, a diocesan community, a community of priests or men and women religious… many things come to divide a community.
Looking at the things that divided the first Christian community, I find three. First, money. When the Apostle James says that personal favouritism is to be avoided, he gives an example. Because “if in your Church, in your assembly, someone comes in with a golden ring, they immediately bring him to the front of the community, and the poor person is left on the side” (see James 2:2-4). Money. Paul says the same thing: “the rich bring things to eat and they eat, and the poor are left standing”. We leave them there as if to say to them, “Take care of yourselves”. Money divides, the love of money divides the community, it divides the Church.
How many times, in the history of the Church, where there have been doctrinal deviations - not always, but many times - has money been behind it! The money of power, whether it be political power or cash, always money. Money divides the community. This is why poverty is the mother of the community, poverty is the wall that guards the community. Money and personal interests divide. Even in the family: how many families have ended up divided over an inheritance? How many families? And they do not even speak to each other any more. So many families… over an inheritance. Money divides.
Another thing that divides a community is vanity, that desire to feel better than others. “I thank you Lord, because I am not like the others” (see Lk 18:11) the prayer of the Pharisee. Vanity, feeling that… and also the vanity of making myself seen, vanity in habits, in how we dress. How many times, not always, but how many times is the celebration of a Sacrament an example of vanity: who has the best clothes, who can throw the biggest party… Even there, vanity enters. And vanity divides. Because vanity leads you to behave like a peacock and where one is like a peacock, there is division, always.
A third thing that divides a community is gossip: it is not the first time I have said this, but it is true. It is reality. It is something the devil puts in us, almost a need to speak badly of others. “He’s a good person…” “Yes, sure, but…”, and then right away, that “but”, that is like a rock, to discredit the other.And then straight away I say something I have heard, and in that way I put the other person down.
But the Spirit always comes with His strength to save us from this worldliness of money, vanity and gossip, because the Spirit is not of the world: He is against the world. He is capable of working these miracles, these great things.
Let us ask the Lord for this docility to the Spirit so that He might transform us, and transform our parish, diocesan and religious communities: that He might transform them in order always to go forward in harmony, the harmony that Jesus wants for the Christian community.
My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Blessed Sacrament. I love you above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if you were already there, and I unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You.
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