Pope Francis said that Church divisions begin when it does not say ‘yes’ to the Holy Spirit and allow it to work.
“The divisions in the Church begin, the sects, all of these things, when we do not let him work because we are closed to the truth of the Spirit,” he said in the homily for his May 2 morning Mass.
“He always does a nice job, the Holy Spirit, throughout history,” he quipped, as he celebrated Mass with Cardinal Albert Malcolm Ranjith from Colombo, Sri Lanka and staff from the Vatican Museums.
Pope Francis explained that allowing the Holy Spirit to work results in a Church that says ‘yes.’
He noted that this ‘yes’ happens “when a Christian community lives in love, confesses its sins, worships the Lord, forgives offenses, is charitable towards others and manifests love.”
“It feels the obligation of fidelity to the Lord to observe the commandments,” he underscored.
The pontiff also spoke about the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, which relates how the Church “went to the outskirts of faith” to proclaim the Gospel after Pentecost.
In his unscripted homily, the Pope said the Holy Spirit first “pushed and created problems” and then “fostered harmony within the Church.”
He explained that although there were disagreements among the first disciples in Jerusalem on whether or not to allow Gentiles into the Church, some believers were open to it because of their love for Jesus.
“There was a ‘no’ Church that said ‘you cannot, no, no, you must not’ and a ‘yes’ Church that said ‘but let’s think about it, let’s be open to this, the Spirit is opening the door to us’,” said Pope Francis.
“The commandments are fulfilled from this ‘yes,’ a community of open doors,” he stated.
The Church teaches that the Holy Spirit is the continual exchange of love between Jesus Christ and God.
The Pope noted that “Jesus asks us to remain in His love.”
He said that that means “carrying a yoke” and is a ‘yes’ that “defends us from the temptation of becoming Puritans, in the etymological sense of the word, to seek a para-evangelical purity and from being a community of ‘no.’”
The pontiff also mentioned James, a Bishop of Jerusalem, who said people “should not impose a yoke on the neck of the disciples that the same fathers were not able to carry.”
“When the service of the Lord becomes such a heavy yoke, the doors of the Christian communities are closed and no one wants to come to the Lord,” he remarked.
In contrast, it is from love “that the observance of his commandments is born and this is the Christian community that says yes.”
“This love leads us to be faithful to the Lord … I will not do this or that because I love the Lord,” he said.