Dear brothers and sisters: In our catechesis on the Acts of the Apostles, we now turn to the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles gathered in prayer with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, in the Upper Room. On the day of Pentecost, the Spirit came, in fulfilment of Christ’s promise, accompanied by violent wind and tongues of fire. These signs evoke God’s majestic self-manifestation to Moses in the burning bush and the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai. The Church was thus born from the fire of God’s love and the power of his word. Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, immediately inaugurates the Church’s mission of evangelization, proclaiming the Risen Jesus before the crowds and calling them to faith and conversion. The outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost reveals that the heart of the new and eternal Covenant is no longer the written word of the Law, but the living presence of the Spirit, who renews all creation, dwells in our hearts, builds unity from diversity, and everywhere brings about reconciliation and communion. May the same Spirit lead us to experience a new Pentecost and to become joyful and convincing witnesses to the Risen Christ in our world.
I welcome all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, especially those from England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Australia, India, Indonesia, Canada and the United States of America. My special greeting goes to the Hiroshima and Nagasaki Youth Peace Messengers from Japan. I also greet the winners of the traditional Bible Contest of the Holy Land. Upon all of you I invoke the joy and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ. God bless you!