Pope Francis reflects on how the Holy Spirit feels about differences.
On Pentecost Sunday, Pope Francis reflected on the Holy Spirit’s attitude toward differences, considering the Scriptural account of what happened on that first Feast of Pentecost.
Noting how the Spirit descended with a sound as of a great wind, the Pope said that the disciples were changed by His arrival. “They were no longer as they were before.”
… they went out and began to preach Jesus, to preach that Jesus is risen, that the Lord is with us, in such a way that each one understood them in his or her own language.”
From this detail of the languages, the Pope considered that “the Spirit is universal.”
… He does not remove cultural differences, differences of thought, no. He is for everyone, but each one understands him in his or her own culture, in his or her own language.
“In other words,” the pope said, “the Holy Spirit puts different people in communication, achieving the unity and universality of the Church.”
Earlier in the day, the Holy Father celebrated Pentecost Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica.
Then, too, he reflected on how the Holy Spirit brings unity using diversity.
“The Spirit does not mould isolated individuals, but shapes us into a Church in the wide variety of our charisms, into a unity that is never uniformity. The Paraclete affirms the primacy of the whole. There, in the whole, in the community, the Spirit prefers to work and to bring newness.”
The Pope said that an example of this can be found in the Apostles themselves, who “included, for example, Matthew, a tax collector who collaborated with the Romans, and Simon called the zealot, who fought them. They had contrary political ideas, different visions of the world.”
Yet once they received the Spirit, they learned to give primacy not to their human viewpoints but to the “whole” that is God’s plan. Today, if we listen to the Spirit, we will not be concerned with conservatives and progressives, traditionalists and innovators, right and left.
When those become our criteria, then the Church has forgotten the Spirit. The Paraclete impels us to unity, to concord, to the harmony of diversity.
He makes us see ourselves as parts of the same body, brothers and sisters of one another. Let us look to the whole!
Finally, the Pope warned that it is Satan who likes to make diversity into opposition.
How? The pope explains:
“The enemy wants diversity to become opposition and so he makes them become ideologies. Say no to ideologies, yes to the whole,” he said.