In the Gospel for Pentecost Sunday, we hear the words “the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name” – I would like to share an extract from a recent homily of Pope Francis on praying in the name of Jesus – and as it is only through the Holy Spirit that we can do that, it is surely applicable to this great Feast. The quotation is taken from last week’s L’Osservatore Romano:
‘Jesus’ wounds are still open on this earth. If we are to recognise them we must come out of ourselves and reach out to our needy brothers and sisters, to the sick, the ignorant, the poor and the exploited. Pope Francis pointed this “exodus” out in his homily at Mass on Saturday morning, 11th May, in the Chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae.
“It means coming out of ourselves”, made possible by prayer, “to the Father in the name of Jesus”.
The prayer that “bores us” is always within us, like a thought that comes and goes, but true prayer is…coming out of ourselves made “with the intercession of Jesus, who shows his wounds to the Father”.
But how can we recognise Jesus’ wounds? How can we trust in them if we cannot identify them? The Pope was explicit: “Unless we can come out of ourselves towards those wounds, we shall never learn the freedom that brings us to the other way out of ourselves, through the wounds of Jesus”.
Hence the Holy Father’s image of the two “ways out of ourselves”. The first is “towards the wounds of Jesus, the other is towards the wounds of our brothers and sisters. And this is the path that Jesus wants us to take in prayer”. “If you ask anything of the Father he will give it to you in my name”(Jn 23-28). Jesus is disarmingly clear. In these words there is something new, the Pope said: “in my name”.
What does “in my name” mean? It is a new element that Jesus reveals at the Ascension. Jesus, in rising to the Father, left the door open. Not because “he forgot to close it”, but because “he himself is the door”. He is our intercessor, so he says: “in my name”. “His wounds are his prayer of intercession to the Father”, asking us to trust in his victory over death.
And now I will conclude with a recent Tweet from the Holy Father.
TRUST IN MERCY “The Holy Spirit brings to our hearts a most precious gift: profound trust in God’s love and mercy”. This was written by Pope Francis in a tweet posted Thursday, 9th May, on the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord.