By Christopher Wells
Pope Francis appeared at the window of the Apostolic Palace overlooking Saint Peter’s Square on Sunday for the recitation of the Regina Coeli with the faithful.
Due to health measures taken to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, the Holy Father in recent weeks had been leading the Sunday Marian prayers, as well as his weekly General Audiences, from the Library of the Apostolic Palace.
Reconciled and ready for mission
In his reflections on Sunday, Pope Francis noted that the Solemnity of Pentecost commemorates the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The Gospel of the day “takes us back to the evening of Easter”, when Jesus appeared to the disciples in the Upper Room. The Lord’s greeting, “Peace be with you”, was an expression of reconciliation and forgiveness for the disciples who had abandoned Him in His Passion.
“By forgiving and gathering His disciples around Him”, the Pope said, “Jesus makes them His Church: a community reconciled and ready for mission”.
A view to mission
After that first appearance, and throughout the forty days Jesus remained with His Disciples, “everything is guided towards strengthening the disciples’ faith – and ours as well – with a view to mission”, Pope Francis said.
It was precisely in order “to inspire mission” that Jesus sent His Holy Spirit, “the fire of love with which the disciples can ‘set the world on fire’”.
The opposite of fear
Pope Francis said that we, in turn, receive the Holy Spirit and His gifts in the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation. Among the gifts is “fear of the Lord”, which the Holy Father explained is “precisely the opposite of the fear that previously paralysed the disciples”.
Instead, fear of the Lord is based on love of God and trust in his mercy and goodness, a trust that allows us to follow His inspirations, knowing that we will never lack “His presence and support”.
An ardent missionary spirit
The feast of Pentecost, the Pope said, “renews the awareness that the life-giving presence of the Holy Spirit dwells within us”. He prayed that the Spirit might grant us “the courage to go outside the protective walls of our ‘Upper Rooms’”, and that the Blessed Virgin Mary might obtain for the Church an “ardent missionary spirit”.