Although sin separates us from God, Pope Francis stressed on the feast of Pentecost that we haven’t been left as orphans, but that thanks to Jesus Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit, we can reconcile with the Lord and continue to live as his children.
“The central purpose of Jesus’ mission, which culminated in the gift of the Holy Spirit, was to renew our relationship with the Father, a relationship severed by sin, to take us from our state of being orphaned children and to restore us as his sons and daughters,” the pope said May 15.
“We were made to be God’s children, it is in our DNA,” he said in a Catholic News Agency report, explaining that “the Spirit is given to us by the Father and leads us back to the Father.”
Dressed in red vestments traditional for the solemnity of Pentecost, which celebrates the descent of the Holy Spirit onto Mary and the Apostles, Pope Francis made these remarks during Mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica.
Quoting St. Paul’s letter to the Romans, he told those present that “all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship.”
Francis explained that the entire process of salvation has been one of “regeneration” in which God’s fatherhood frees us from the state to which sin has caused us to fall: namely, that of being orphans.
Even today we see various signs of being orphans, including “the interior loneliness which we feel even when we are surrounded by people, a loneliness which can become an existential sadness,” he said.
We also see these signs “in the attempt to be free of God, even if accompanied by a desire for his presence; in the all-too-common spiritual illiteracy which renders us incapable of prayer; in the difficulty in grasping the truth and reality of eternal life as that fullness of communion which begins on earth and reaches full flower after death.”
Another sign, the pope said, is the effort required to see others as brothers or sisters, “since we are children of the same Father.”
To be a child of God is our “primordial vocation” and contradicts all of these signs, he said, noting how this relationship was “ruined” by sin and restored by the sacrifice of God’s only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.
From the “immense gift of love which is Jesus’ death on the cross,” the Holy Spirit has been poured out on humanity “like a vast torrent of grace,” he said, adding that “those who by faith are immersed into this mystery of regeneration are reborn to the fullness of filial life.”
Pope Francis pointed to Jesus’ assurance to the apostles that “I will not leave you orphans,” and said that on the feast of Pentecost these words serve as a reminder of the maternal presence of Mary, who was in the Upper Room with the apostles when the Holy Spirit descended.
Mary the Mother of Jesus is with the community in prayer, he said, explaining that “she is the living remembrance of the Son and the living invocation of the Holy Spirit.”
“She is the Mother of the Church,” he said, and entrusted all Christians, families and communities in need of the Holy Spirit to her intercession.
Francis closed his homily noting how the Holy Spirit strengthens our relationship with Jesus enables us “to enter into a new experience of fraternity” with him and with each other.
“By means of our universal Brother — Jesus — we can relate to one another in a new way; no longer as orphans, but rather as children of the same good and merciful Father.”
“This changes everything!” he said, explaining that “we can see each other as brothers and sisters whose differences can only increase our joy and wonder at sharing in this unique fatherhood and brotherhood.”