During the morning Mass at St. Martha’s House, Pope Francis talked about the power of the Holy Spirit, who is capable of making us become true witnesses of Jesus even amidst big and little persecutions in our lives. The Pope takes cue from today’s readings, which – with the approach of Pentecost – focus mainly on the third person of the Holy Trinity. The Acts of the Apostles narrate that the Lord opened the heart of a woman, Lydia. She was a purple cloth merchant who listened to Paul’s words in the city of Thyatira.
The Pope says: “This woman felt something inside that made her say: ‘That’s true! I agree with the words of this man who gives testimony of Jesus Christ. He speaks the truth!’ But who touched this woman’s heart? Who told her: ‘Why is this the truth? It was the Holy Spirit. He made this woman feel that Jesus was the Lord; He made this woman feel that salvation was in Paul’s words; He made this woman feel a witness. The Spirit gives testimony to Jesus. And every time we feel something in our hearts that brings us closer to Jesus, it is the Spirit who works in it.”
In today’s Gospel, taken from John’s Chapter 15, Jesus invites the disciples not to be shocked, because the witness brings persecution along. From the little “persecution of the gossip”, criticism, to the big persecutions, which are numerous in “the history of the Church. They made Christians end up in prison or even made them give their lives”: “It is the price – Jesus says – of Christian witness. ‘They will chase you from the synagogues; moreover, the time will come when your murders will think they render service to God’. Christians, with the power of the Spirit, witnesses that the Lord lives, that the Lord is risen, that the Lord is among us, that the Lord celebrates his death with us, his resurrection, every time we come to come close to the altar. Christians bears witness, with the aid of the Spirit, in their daily life, with their behavior. It is the constant testimony of the Christian. But many times this testimony triggers attacks and persecution.”
“The Holy Spirit that allowed us to know Jesus – Bergoglio continues – pushes us also to make Him known, not on words, but with the testimony of life.” “It is good to ask the Holy Spirit to come into our hearts, to give testimony to Jesus; tell Him: Lord, do not let me ever turn away from Jesus. Teach me what Jesus taught. Allow me to remember Jesus’s words and deeds, and help me bear witness to these things. Do not let worldliness, easy things, the things that come right from the father of lies, the prince of this world, and sin – the Pontiff prays at the end of the homily – make me turn away from witnessing.”