June 4, 2017

The grace of Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit, radically changes everything!
The Holy Spirit sanctifies us, and perpetuates our sacramental baptism as a river of grace.
Pope Saint John Paul II invited many groups to Rome for the 1998 celebration of Pentecost.
The half million people gathered in St. Peter’s Square heard these words from the lips
of the Polish pontiff:
“Today, I would like to cry out to all of you gathered here in St. Peter’s Square and to all
Christians: Open yourselves docilely to the gifts of the Spirit! Accept gratefully and obediently the charisms which the Spirit never ceases to bestow on us! Do not forget that every charism is given for the common good, that is, for the benefit of the whole Church.
True charisms cannot but aim at the encounter with Christ in the sacraments. The ecclesial realities to which you belong have helped you to rediscover your baptismal vocation, to appreciate the gifts of the Spirit received at Confirmation, to entrust yourselves to God’s forgiveness in the sacrament of Reconciliation and to recognize the Eucharist as the source and summit of all Christian life. Thanks to this powerful ecclesial experience, wonderful Christian families have come into being which are open to life, true “domestic churches”, and many vocations to the ministerial priesthood and religious life have blossomed, as well as new forms of lay life inspired by the evangelical counsels. You have learned in the movements and new communities, that faith is not abstract talk, nor vague religious sentiment, but new life in Christ instilled by the Holy Spirit.
Today from this upper room at St. Peter’s Square, a great prayer rises: Come, Holy Spirit, come
and renew the face of the earth! Come with your seven gifts! Come, Spirit of Life, Spirit of Communion
and Love! The Church and the world need you. Come, Holy Spirit, and make ever more fruitful
the charisms you have bestowed on us. Give us new strength and missionary zeal to these sons and daughters of yours who have gathered here. Open their hearts; renew their Christian commitment in the world. Make them courageous messengers of the Gospel, witness to the risen Jesus Christ, the Redeemer and Savior of man. Strengthen their love and their fidelity to the Church.
Today from this square, Christ says to each of you: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel
to the whole creation” (Mk 16:15). He is counting on every one of you, and so is the Church.
Dear English-speaking friends, on the vigil of this great feast of Pentecost, I pray that the Holy
Spirit will increase the flame of his love in your hearts so that you may be ever more effective in bringing the Gospel message to the world of the new millennium. The Church needs your commitmentand your love!”
In that moment, the Holy Spirit stirred up the fire of divine love that moves us to bear joyful
witness to Christ. The Holy Spirit radically changes everything as was said so well, long ago:
Without the Holy Spirit: God is far away, Christ stays in the past, the Gospel is a dead letter, the
Church is simply an organization, authority a matter of domination, mission a matter of propaganda, liturgy no more than an evocation, Christian living a slave morality.
But with the Holy Spirit: the cosmos is resurrected and groans with the birth pangs of the Kingdom, the risen Christ is there, the Gospel is the power of life, the Church shows the life of the Trinity, authority is a liberating service, mission is a Pentecost, the liturgy is both memorial and anticipation, human action is deified.
Pentecost Blessings, and be encouraged, we are all journeying with you. I pray our Lord richly
blesses you. Always remember that I love you, there is no way I will ever love you less, and I will continue  to pray for you every day. ~ Fr. Behrend