The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, OFM, focused his homily for Pentecost Sunday on the theme of unity. Speaking at the Basilica of the Dormition, he reminded the faithful that the “work of the Spirit is an event of communion” that “creates a fraternity, composes differences” and “it is at the origin of the Church.”
“The new life of the Spirit is a life no longer lived in the solitary search for one’s own fulfillment, but in the encounter with the brother with whom life is shared. It cannot be lived if it is not in turn communicated, shared, given, because this very life, in itself, is nothing but a gift,” Archbishop Pizzaballa said.
“If we hold it back and if we possess it, the Spirit is extinguished, and we return to death… Closely linked to the gift of the Spirit is the gift of forgiving sins (Jn 20:23) or the ability not to let evil overwhelm man, destroying his relationships,” he added.
Divisions in Church, Society
The Patriarch noted that human reality is different, starting from the heart of Christianity. “Here in Jerusalem, we certainly see the Churches in their diversity, but not so united. We are witnessing divisions of all kinds, in the Church, in society, in politics, in families,” he said.
“It seems that the Spirit in Jerusalem is unable to break through the heart of its inhabitants,” he added. (Read: Violence in Jerusalem Worsens as Israel Launches Air Strikes)
To overcome this divide, the Patriarch called attention to the beautiful realities that still exist in the Holy Land. He said that those who refuse to see the “many people, institutions, activities of unity, sharing and mutual love that still exists among us” are in a way “extinguishing the Spirit with which we have been marked.”
Build Unity, Share Love
At the end of his message, the Patriarch reminded everyone of their Christian duty to become those who “build unity, sharing, love, peace.” (Read: Pope Appeals for Peace in Jerusalem Amid Ongoing Clashes)
“Those are a gift that comes from above, but which must be built with our hands, our commitment, and our sincere desire,” he said. “The Spirit is the power that sustains us, but it cannot replace our free choice to live as children of God.”
Archbishop Pizzaballa concluded his homily with a prayer: “May the Lord forgive our infidelities, make us in turn capable of mutual forgiveness, and support us in our common desire to become operators of the action of the Spirit and builders of unity and peace in the world.”