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Pope Francis: Pentecost shows us that the Church is full of surprises, called to evangelize

Catholic World News - June 09, 2014

In his Pentecost Sunday Regina Caeli address, Pope Francis told the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit was a surprising act that took place within the context of an existing Jewish festival.

“Everything is reborn and transfigured,” the Pope said: as the apostles’ cowardice is transformed into courage and frankness, the Church “announces a new message, the resurrection of Christ, with a new language, that of universal love.”

The birth of the Church and its public manifestation show that the “Church is full of surprises and messes.” The Church is called to “announce to all that Jesus Christ has conquered death, that God’s arms are always open, that his patience is always there, waiting for us, to heal us, to forgive us.”

“If the Church is alive, it is always surprising,” Pope Francis continued. “A Church that does not have the capacity to surprise is a weak, sick, dying Church that needs to be hospitalized in the intensive care unit as soon as possible!”

Someone in Jerusalem would have preferred that Jesus’ disciples remain fearful in the upper room, the Pope added. Recalling Christ’s words in the Gospel of the day-- “as the Father has sent me, so I send you”-- Pope Francis said that the Church is not meant to be “innocuous,” or “distilled water,” or a “decorative element.” Instead, the Church must not hesitate to go out, meet others, and proclaim the Gospel, even if the message disturbs consciences and leads to martyrdom.

Stating that “we Christians are free, and the Church wants us to be free,” Pope Francis compared the Church to the colonnades of St. Peter’s Square: they are arms that embrace but do not entrap. He concluded by asking the Virgin Mary to intercede for a “renewed outpouring of the Spirit of God on the Church and on the world.”

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