18 May 2013

Veni Sancte Spiritus

John Paul II, Homily, Pentecost Vigil, 10 June 2000

Before ascending into heaven Christ had entrusted a great task to the Apostles: "Go ... and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit ... teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you" (Mt 28: 19-20). He had also promised that after his departure they would receive "another Counselor", who would teach them all things (cf. Jn 14: 16, 26).

The reflection we are invited to make cannot fail to dwell above all on the work which the Holy Spirit carries out in individuals and in communities. It is the Holy Spirit who scatters the "seeds of the Word" in the various customs and cultures, preparing the peoples of the most varied regions to accept the Gospel message. This awareness cannot fail to instil in Christ's disciples an attitude of openness and dialogue towards those with different religious convictions. Indeed, it is only right to listen to what the Spirit can also suggest to "others". They can offer useful hints for reaching a deeper understanding of what the Christian already possesses in the "revealed deposit". Dialogue can thus open the way to a proclamation which is better suited to the personal conditions of the listener.

However, if the proclamation is to be effective, a lived witness remains crucial. Only the believer who lives what he professes with his lips has any hope of being heard. One must bear in mind that circumstances at times do not permit an explicit proclamation of Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour of all. It is then that the witness of a life that is respectful, chaste, detached from riches and free from the powers of this world, in a word, the witness of holiness, can reveal all its convincing power, even if offered in silence.

It is also clear that our firmness in being witnesses of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit does not prevent us from collaborating in the service of man with those who belong to other religions. On the contrary, it prompts us to work together with them for the good of society and peace in the world. If the Church's children known how to remain open to the Holy Spirit's action, he will help them communicate Christ's one, universal saving message in a way that respects the religious convictions of others.

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