By Linda Bordoni
Pope Francis encouraged the faithful of the city of Rome to allow the Spirit to take them by the hand and bring them to the heart of the city to hear the cry of those in need of salvation.
He was celebrating Holy Mass with the faithful of the Diocese of Rome in St. Peter’s Square on Saturday evening, the eve of the feast of Pentecost.
Noting that the celebration marks the evening of the last day of the Easter Season, the Pope said, on the feast of Pentecost, “Jesus is in our midst and proclaims out loud: Let anyone who thirsts come to me and drink”.
The Pope said that the Holy Spirit springs from the heart of the Risen Jesus, and fills our hearts with mercy.
“How I wish that the people who live in Rome would recognize the Church, recognize us”, for the humanity, the mercy, the tenderness of which there is so much need, he said.
The Church is a mother
He said they would feel at home, at the “maternal home” where they are always welcome and where they can always return.
“They would always feel welcomed, listened to, understood, helped to take a step toward the kingdom of God… As a mother knows how, even when the children have already grown up,” he said.
Pope Francis said that these thoughts concerning the maternal aspect of the Church remind him of when, 75 years ago, on 11 June 1944, Pope Pius XII carried out a special act of thanksgiving and supplication of the Virgin, for the protection of the city of Rome.
He said he did this in the Church of St Ignatius, where the venerated image of the Madonna of Divine Love had been brought.
“Divine Love is the Holy Spirit that springs from the Heart of Christ,” he said.
And reflecting on how there are those in our time, as in every time, who seek to build “a city and a tower that reaches up to the sky,” the Pope lamented such human projects in which there is no space for God.
The Pope said that so often we are so taken by our own constructions that give us the illusion of touching heaven that we end up losing sight of the true horizon.
“Instead, the Spirit explodes into the world from on High, from God’s womb, there where the Son was generated, and makes all things new” he said.
The primacy of the Spirit
What we are celebrating today, all together, in the city of Rome, Pope Francis explained, is the primacy of the Spirit “that makes us fall silent before the unpredictability of God’s plan, and then fills us with joy.”
“So it was this that God had in mind for us!” This journey as Church, this passage, this Exodus, this arrival in the promised land, the city of Jerusalem, of the doors that are always open for everyone, where the various languages spoken by man are composed in the harmony of the Spirit,” he said.
He said that the “cry of the people who live in this city and the cry of creation as a whole, is none other than the cry of the Spirit: it is the birth of a new world”.
The Pope added that if “pride and a presumed moral superiority do not dull our hearing, we will realize that behind the cry of so many people there is none other than the authentic cry of the Holy Spirit”.
It is the Spirit, he said, who pushes us, once again, to not be content, to seek to put ourselves back on the road; it is the Spirit who will save us from every diocesan “reorganization.”
“Let us then allow the Spirit to take us by the hand and bring us to the heart of the city to hear its cry”, Pope Francis said, but for this to be able to happen, our hearts must become “attentive and sensitive to the sufferings and dreams of men and women, to those who cry in secret as they raise their hands towards Heaven, because they have nothing else to hold onto on earth”.
‘Listen to the cry of the city of Rome’
The Pope concluded explaining that to listen to the cry of the city of Rome, we need the Lord to take us by the hand and make us “go down” among the brothers and sisters who live in our city.
“It is about opening eyes and ears, but above all the heart, listening with the heart. Then we will truly be on the way,” he said.
Only then, he said, will we feel the fire of Pentecost within ourselves, a fire that pushes us to cry out to the men and women of this city that their slavery is over and that it is Christ who is the way that leads to the city of Heaven.