This is Archbishop Mark Coleridge’s Pentecost Letter to Young People, launched on Sunday June 15.
Pentecost is all about unleashing new energy –wild fire and wild wind. The first disciples certainly needed new energy as they cringed behind closed doors after the death of Jesus.
They’d seen him die and thought they might be next to go. But not even the closed doors could keep the fire and wind of the Holy Spirit out – and so the new energy came in a big way.
When Pope (now Saint) John XXIII looked at the Church and the world after World War II, he saw that new energy was needed – not the energy of guns and bombs but the energy of peace and love. That’s why he convened the Second Vatican Council, calling all the bishops of the world to a gathering which Pope John hoped would unleash what he called “a new Pentecost”.
We need a new Pentecost as much now as they did back in the 1960s or in the years after the death of Jesus. And young people have to be a crucial part of that “fire and wind”.
They are already helping to unleash new energy in the Church and in the world – and we need to encourage them to do that more and more.
That’s why I’m offering these words to you now.
Sometimes the Church can get in the way of young people. Pope Francis has said that “young people often fail to find responses to their concerns, needs, problems and hurts in the usual structures”.
Has that been your experience? What are your concerns, needs, problems and hurts? What structures might respond best to what you need most? I can’t answer those questions, but you can. So I need to listen.
Pope Francis has also said that young people “search for a deep spirituality and a more real sense of belonging”.
Is that true of you? If so, what does a deep spirituality mean for you? What might a more real sense of belonging look like? I can’t answer those questions, but you can. So I need to listen.
The Pope has also said that there is an “urgent need for the young to exercise greater leadership” in the Church and in the world.
Do you agree? If so, how might that happen? What might the leadership of young people look like? I can’t answer those questions, but you can. So I need to listen.
Here I’ve asked questions…and sometimes the word of God is a question. The God who wants us to be his partners wants to enter into conversation with us.
Here I’ve quoted words of Pope Francis and used a few of my own, but I hope that in these words you can hear the Word of God. Perhaps in listening to your answers to these questions, I might also hear the Word of God full of “fire and wind”, full of power that comes in unexpected ways to blast the closed doors open.
+ Mark Coleridge, Pentecost Sunday 2014