Shelly’s poem Ozymandias ridicules the conceit of human pride. It warns us that the passage of time diminishes all thing; the reputation of the great and powerful, how quickly their names and achievements are forgotten. The poem begins
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: `Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert.
Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
And on the pedestal these words appear —
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
All things change and pass away. Everything grows old and stale, falls out of fashion and becomes obsolete. Civilizations come and go, empires rise and fall. There is no true permanence to our human existence.
And yet the feast of Pentecost assures us the Holy Spirit makes all things new, that the coming of the Holy Spirit restores the Church to her youthful vigour and beauty as the bride of Christ. Makes the message and goodnews of the Gospel as fresh and relevant today as it was when it was first preached by the disciples on the day of Pentecost itself.
And that perpetual spring which makes the church always young is easily perceived in the life of the church today with the pontificate of Pope Francis who brings to the church the experience of the developing world. Pope Francis has presented the gospel in a new and vibrant way to the world. Attracting many with the joy and compassion of Christ’s message. We feel a new spring and also a new challenge for all of us.
Later in the year the church will look at the family and marriage, we all know these are hard question and there are no easy answers. We need the guidance wisdom and discernment of the Holy Spirit. The same spirit who speaks through the voice and experience of the faithful, in what the church calls the sensus fideli.
The belief that the Holy Spirit present in each one of us speaks unerringly through the consensus of faith. In this important year, which Pope Francis has declared a Year of Mercy, let us reflect on how the mercy of God may be brought to our world; to families challenged by poverty and pain, to couple who struggle to live out the covenant of marriage in their daily lives, to families weakened and broken by the struggle of life. In all these situations may the Holy Spirit help the church to bring God’s mercy and love, to renew all things, to restore all things with the breath of God.