My dear sisters and brothers!
On this day of Pentecost when I hear the readings describing the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles and the Blessed Virgin Mary the picture of the sailing ship appears in my mind again. My faith helps me recognize in the group of these first disciples of Jesus a huge sailing ship waiting for a good wind in a harbour. This ship was made by Jesus alone. It took him three years to make it, to create the first group of believers. We know that this group wasn’t perfect but the beauty of this group was already shining like the beauty of a ship which has not been finished yet, but looking at it you can imagine what it will look like when it is completed. The same beauty I can see in my church. I don’t want to pretend that my church is completed but what I can see is that the Catholic Church is becoming more and more beautiful. I don’t see any reason not to believe this as I know that, fifty days after Jesus’ Resurrection the Holy Spirit came to the Church as tongues of fire. Fire is a sign of purity. When Jesus sent the Holy Spirit as fire he did so not to burn the people gathered in the upper room, not to destroy them, but to purify them. Since that moment the process of purifying of the church has been continued. As far as I know the history of the Church, and I believe I know it well, it is clear to me that the Holy Spirit has not wasted time doing this. We are becoming more and more beautiful because the Holy Spirit is at work. In spite of some imperfections which have happened in the Church I can see her beauty more advanced than on the Day of Pentecost 2000 years ago.
However it is not all what my faith let me see. In the reading about the Descent of the Holy Spirit I can see my Church setting off for a long journey. I see the Holy Spirit opening the door of the Upper Room and pushing the first group of Christians out. They were taken not only to the streets of Jerusalem but they started sailing through cities and villages, through the passing ages towards heaven.
As a strong wind pushes sails as the Holy Spirit has been pushing the Church. What we can be sure of is that this powerful wind from heaven, which was heard in the Upper Room for the first time, is still blowing. I think that you know that sometimes sailors have problems with wind pushing them in a wrong direction. However we can be sure that the Holy Spirit doesn’t take us to shallow waters but he directs us to the harbour where the heavenly Father is waiting for us with his open arms.
On this Pentecost day I see the sailing ship, which is the Church, with her sails full of the Holy Spirit. As I admired a sailing ship from the beach many years ago so am I admiring the beauty and majesty of the Church today. However there is a significant difference: now I am on board and I am proud of it.