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The flame of Pentecost to illuminate our daily lives 

As the Church celebrates its birthday this Sunday, Pentecost, the words of Pope Francis and the Scripture readings shed light on how we can allow the Holy Spirit to truly blaze in our ordinary, daily lives.

In his Pentecost homily in St Peter’s Basilica on June 5, 2022, the Holy Father reflected on the driving wind and tongues of fire described in the First Reading from Acts 2. He said these symbols reveal: “the power of the Word of God to take root and become flesh in the lives of men and women in every age.”

The Pope went on to emphasise that the Holy Spirit made the apostles “unstoppable” in spreading the Gospel, giving them a spiritual freedom and true authentic life. “The Spirit created one new people, overcoming divisions of race, ethnicity and language,” he preached.

This unity in diversity brought by the Spirit is vividly portrayed in the reading’s detail that every nationality present heard the apostles speaking in their native tongues. As Pope Francis said, “We were made to be united, not dispersed.”

So how can we live this spiritual unity while embracing the diversity of our vocations, cultures, and paths? We can follow the model of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Pope answered, who was interiorly “recreated” at Pentecost as the “Mother of the resurrected people.”

She experienced the freedom and courage of the Spirit while still living her simple, humble life as a peasant woman.

Just like Mary and the apostles, we are called to enliven and set ablaze our ordinary relationships, work, and everyday activities with the unifying, emboldening fire of the Spirit. This sounds like a tough order in the face of all the challenges of daily living.

In the Gospel for Pentecost, Jesus promises to send the “Spirit of truth” who will “lead you to the complete truth” and declare to us “the things to come” (Jn 16:13). The Spirit will also “glorify” Christ by taking from His teachings and revealing their deeper meaning to us (Jn 16:14).

Pope Francis connects this outpouring of the Spirit of Truth to our mission of sharing the fullness of Christ’s teaching authentically in our daily lives and specific vocations.

“We were all born to be ambassadors and witnesses of Christ, allowing the Spirit to blaze through us as light for the world,” the Holy Father said.

In his Regina Caeli address on Pentecost 2022, Pope Francis stressed that the Holy Spirit guides us to see every person and situation with spiritual “eyes unveiled.” We can then embrace God’s loving gaze in our daily lives and spread the Gospel through simple humble actions and relationships, avoiding “the paralysis of selfishness and fear.”

The Holy Father gave the concrete example of the Church’s urban peripheries: “It is up to us to cooperate with the Spirit so that these urban contexts, with their lights and shadows, can be…transfigured by God’s peaceful presence.”

As we go about our ordinary days at home, work, or in our communities this coming week and beyond, may the Pentecost readings and Pope Francis’ words inspire us to invite the Holy Spirit in, unifying our diversity, transfiguring the mundane, allowing the Spirit of Truth to blaze through us, and spreading Christ’s light in humble, concrete ways. Happy birthday, Church!