Pentecost Vigil
May 30, 2020
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.

Opening Hymn

 

Invitation

My dear friends, we have begun our vigil of Pentecost following the example of the apostles and disciples who, together with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, persevered in prayer, while they awaited the coming of the Spirit whom the Lord had promised.  Let us listen now, with peaceful and attentive hearts, to the proclamation of the word of God.  Let us meditate on all the great and wondrous deeds which the Lord God has done for his people; and let us pray that the Holy Spirit, whom the Father sent as his first gift to those who believe, may complete his work in the world and accomplish the sanctification of all.

Collect

Almighty ever-living God,
who willed the Paschal Mystery
to be encompassed as a sign in fifty days,
grant that from out of the scattered nations
the confusion of many tongues
may be gathered by heavenly grace
into one great confession of your name.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. R/. Amen.

Liturgy of the Word (Each reading is followed by a responsorial psalm and collect).

First Reading Genesis 11:1-9

A reading from the Book of Genesis.

The whole world spoke the same language, using the same words. While the people were migrating in the east, they came upon a valley in the land of Shinar and settled there. They said to one another, “Come, let us mold bricks and harden them with fire.” They used bricks for stone, and bitumen for mortar.

Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the sky, and so make a name for ourselves; otherwise we shall be scattered all over the earth.”

The Lord came down to see the city and the tower that the people had built. Then the Lord said: “If now, while they are one people, all speaking the same language, they have started to do this, nothing will later stop them from doing whatever they presume to do. Let us then go down there and confuse their language, so that one will not understand what another says.” Thus the Lord scattered them from there all over the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the speech of all the world. It was from that place that he scattered them all over the earth.

The Word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm I PSALM 33:10-11, 12-13, 14-15



Second Reading (Exodus 19:3–8a, 16–20b)

A reading from the Book of Exodus.

Moses went up the mountain to God. Then the Lord called to him and said, “Thus shall you say to the house of Jacob; tell the Israelites: You have seen for yourselves how I treated the Egyptians and how I bore you up on eagle wings and brought you here to myself. Therefore, if you hearken to my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my special possession, dearer to me than all other people, though all the earth is mine. You shall be to me a kingdom of priests, a holy nation. That is what you must tell the Israelites.” So Moses went and summoned the elders of the people. When he set before them all that the Lord had ordered him to tell them, the people all answered together, “Everything the Lord has said, we will do.”

On the morning of the third day there were peals of thunder and lightning, and a heavy cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled. But Moses led the people out of the camp to meet God, and they stationed themselves at the foot of the mountain. Mount Sinai was all wrapped in smoke, for the Lord came down upon it in fire. The smoke rose from it as though from a furnace, and the whole mountain trembled violently. The trumpet blast grew louder and louder, while Moses was speaking, and God answering him with thunder.

When the Lord came down to the top of Mount Sinai, he summoned Moses to the top of the mountain.

The Word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm II  DANIEL 3:52, 53, 54, 55, 56

R/. Glory and praise forever!

"Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of our fathers,
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever;
and blessed is your holy and glorious name,
praiseworthy and exalted above all for all ages."

"Blessed are you in the temple of your holy glory,
praiseworthy and glorious above all forever."

"Blessed are you on the throne of your kingdom,
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever."

"Blessed are you who look into the depths
from your throne upon the cherubim,
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever."

"Blessed are you in the firmament of heaven,
praiseworthy and glorious forever."  

Third Reading (Ezekiel 37:1-14)

A reading from the Book of the prophet Ezekiel.

The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he led me out in the spirit of the Lord and set me in the center of the plain, which was now filled with bones. He made me walk among the bones in every direction so that I saw how many they were on the surface of the plain. How dry they were! He asked me: Son of man, can these bones come to life? I answered, “Lord God, you alone know that.” Then he said to me: Prophesy over these bones, and say to them: Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! Thus says the Lord God to these bones: See! I will bring spirit into you, that you may come to life. I will put sinews upon you, make flesh grow over you, cover you with skin, and put spirit in you so that you may come to life and know that I am the Lord. I, Ezekiel, prophesied as I had been told, and even as I was prophesying I heard a noise; it was a rattling as the bones came together, bone joining bone. I saw the sinews and the flesh come upon them, and the skin cover them, but there was no spirit in them. Then the Lord said to me: Prophesy to the spirit, prophesy, son of man, and say to the spirit: Thus says the Lord God: From the four winds come, O spirit, and breathe into these slain that they may come to life. I prophesied as he told me, and the spirit came into them; they came alive and stood upright, a vast army. Then he said to me: Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They have been saying, “Our bones are dried up, our hope is lost, and we are cut off.” Therefore, prophesy and say to them: Thus says the Lord God: O my people, I will open your graves and have you rise from them, and bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and have you rise from them, O my people! I will put my spirit in you that you may live, and I will settle you upon your land; thus you shall know that I am the Lord. I have promised, and I will do it, says the Lord.

The Word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm III PSALM 107:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9

 

Fourth Reading (Joel 3:1-5)

A reading from the Book of the prophet Joel.

Thus says the Lord:

I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh.

Your sons and daughters shall prophesy,

  your old men shall dream dreams,

  your young men shall see visions;

even upon the servants and the handmaids,

  in those days, I will pour out my spirit.

And I will work wonders in the heavens and on the earth,

  blood, fire, and columns of smoke;

the sun will be turned to darkness,

  and the moon to blood,

at the coming of the day of the Lord,

  the great and terrible day.

Then everyone shall be rescued

  who calls on the name of the Lord;

for on Mount Zion there shall be a remnant,

  as the Lord has said,

and in Jerusalem survivors

  whom the Lord shall call.

The Word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm IV PSALM 104:1-2, 24 AND 35, 27-28, 29-30

 

Epistle (Romans 8:22-27)

A reading from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans

Brothers and sisters: We know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now; and not only that, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, we also groan within ourselves as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that sees is not hope. For who hopes for what one sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait with endurance.

In the same way, the Spirit too comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes with inexpressible groanings. And the one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit, because he intercedes for the holy ones according to God’s will.

The Word of the Lord.

Verse Before the Gospel

 

Gospel (John 7:37-39)

A reading from the holy Gospel according to John

On the last and greatest day of the feast, Jesus stood up and exclaimed, “Let anyone who thirsts come to me and drink. As Scripture says: Rivers of living water will flow from within him who believes in me.” He said this in reference to the Spirit that those who came to believe in him were to receive. There was, of course, no Spirit yet, because Jesus had not yet been glorified.

The Gospel of the Lord.

Homily         

“Stop Your Babbling”

            It must’ve been quite a sight!  That tower of Babel with its top in the heavens, built when the whole world had one language and the same words.  Yet even then, when people were one, they were afraid, fearing they might be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.  Which is why they wanted strong cities, with towers to protect them, should invaders come.  So bricks rose, one on top of the other.  And no one’s tower was taller than Babel’s.  And they made a name for themselves, those people. They were mighty proud of their urban culture, set apart from God, and other people.

 

            It didn’t last though.  One day that city with a skyscraper in the land of Shinar had a visitor: the Landowner.  He wasn’t impressed with the inhabitants.  Or their splendid isolation.  So he taught them a lesson about human nature.   Namely, that we’re in this together; that we can’t go it alone.  And the farther apart we get, the worse it gets for us all. ‘Til we can’t even recognize one another, or under­stand what the other is saying. ‘Til divisions rise, and confusion reigns.

            That’s what happened when the Lord scattered them abroad from there, letting us try and live without each other, except our own kind: “us” against “them.” Sad thing is, we never learned the lesson the Landowner taught.  We never stopped building cities and states, defended by towers, and walls, and borders.  Designed to keep some people in, and others out.

            Oh, and we still like those things to make us a name for our­selves.  Not the Tower of “Babel,” but names like Trump Tower, or the CN Tower, or the Tokyo Tower.  The tallest in the world is in Dubai –2,722 feet.  The sky’s still the limit for such soaring spires of self-assertion.

            Yes, the world’s changed little since the Tower of Babel went up. Whether it’s a superpower still maneuver­ing for the nuclear edge though the “Cold War” is over; or lesser powers striving to dominate long-disputed lands, “cleansing” them as they go.  Whether it’s neighbors keeping up with the Joneses; athletes or politicians bent on winning, no matter what; business people trying to corner a market; or religious folk arguing their church is best. We all have the spirit of Babel in us, a spirit of tower-building. Which is why creation has been groaning in labour pains until now -- waiting for us to learn the lesson God taught at Babel.

            But then, I hear a noise.  Like the rush of a violent wind, suddenly stirring.  Coming from heaven, where towers dot the horizon.  Do you hear it too?  A new Spirit is blowing.  Not the spirit of Babel, but the Spirit of God.  A Spirit that brings people together: by toppling towers, by tumbling walls, by opening borders, stopping the babble. Why, even language barr­iers are falling!  For, though speaking different tongues, everyone under­stood; though coming from every part of the world, they all heard about God’s deeds of power.

            For what Babel scattered, Pentecost gathers: from out of the scattered nations
the confusion of many tongues gathered by heavenly grace
(Collect). And not just the devout Jews from every nation staying in Jerus­alem that first Pentecost, but people of every time and place. Whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free (1 Cor. 12:13). Whether Arab or Israeli, black or white, male or female; whether from the global North or the global South; whether conservative or liberal, gay or straight: this Spirit’s flame disperses divisions of word and tongue.

            And the wisdom to see this, a wisdom that contradicts Babel and affirms Pentecost, is given to every member of the church in the sacrament of  Confirmation when we were all made to drink of one Spirit: Not a worldly wisdom which would sharpen differences to the point of exclusion, but another wisdom -- wisdom from on high, which would unite the human race, in all its diversity.

            And that is why those marked by this Spirit in the outward sign of chrism must pray: “Holy Spirit, Lord divine! Come, from heights of heav’n and shine, Come with blessed radiance bright! Shed a ray of light divine in places darkened by despair.  Come, Consoler wise!  And heal a fractured world.  Come, Advocate most just!  And convict those still building towers of domination.  Come, Wind of Fire!  Melt hardened hearts with the heat of your love.  Come, Heavenly Dew!  Quench thirsting spirits with the water of salvation.  Come, Power from on high!  Help us in our weakness. . .to pray as we ought, that we might know the mind of the Spirit. …according to the will of God.

Commemoration of Confirmation

Brothers and sisters, the holy night of Easter we renewed our baptismal promises. In this vigil of Pentecost, by which we are led to rediscover the presence and action of the Holy Spirit in the church, let us remember the sacrament of Confirmation, praying for a renewed spiritual anointing that we may we grow in zeal for communion and mission.

(Candles are lit as at the Easter Vigil).

Uncreated Spirit,

primordial force of the universe,

sanctifying power of the church,

revive in us the gifts of Baptism and Confirmation.  R/.  Come, Holy Spirit

Spirit of life, breath of love,

strength flowing forth from the cross,

reinvigorate in the hearts of your faithful

the commitment to live as a chosen race,

a royal priesthood, a holy nation,

a people set apart by God. R/.  Come, Holy Spirit

Spirit of the Father and of the Son,

descended on the Virgin,

and given to the apostles,

animate and make the church fruitful with your seven holy gifts.  R/.  Come, Holy Spirit.

Hymn (Taize’)

Come, Holy Spirit, from heaven shine forth with your glorious light. Veni Sancte Spiritus!

Come, Father of the poor, come, generous Spirit, come, light of our hearts. Veni Sancte Spiritus!

Come from the four winds, O Spirit, come breath of God; disperse the shadows over us, renew and
strengthen your people. Veni Sancte Spiritus!

Most kindly warming light! Enter the inmost depths of our hearts,
for we are faithful to you.
Without your presence we have nothing worthy, nothing pure. Veni Sancte Spiritus!

You are only comforter, Peace of the soul.
In the heat you shade us; in our labour you refresh us, and in trouble you are our strength. Veni Sancte Spiritus!

On all who put their trust in you and receive you in faith, shower all your gifts.
Grant that they may grow in you and persevere to the end.
Give them lasting joy! Veni Sancte Spiritus!

In the same Spirit whom we have just invoked let us profess our faith:

I believe in one God,
the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all things visible and invisible.

I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the Only Begotten Son of God,
born of the Father before all ages.
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,
and became man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate,
he suffered death and was buried,
and rose again on the third day
in accordance with the Scriptures.
He ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead
and his kingdom will have no end.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.

I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.
I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins
and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Intercessions

Let us now unite in prayer, as the disciples did on the first Pentecost, and open ourselves to receive the very same Holy Spirit.

For the whole church, groaning in labor pains as she longs for the coming of the Holy Spirit, that this divine Paraclete may respond to our yearning with the gift of holy fire.

That all creatures and all the world may be filled with peace and all good things as the Lord opens His hand and sends out His Spirit.

That the Spirit may come to the aid of our weakness, interceding for us in our prayer according to God’s loving will.

That our faith in Jesus may be strong so that living water may flow from within us, refreshing and renewing everyone we meet.

For all who have asked our prayers and all who are in need of loving intercession, that the Spirit may be poured upon them in grace and joy.

For our beloved departed ones, who possessed the first fruits of the Spirit in this life of hope and struggle, that they may now be rejoicing in the Spirit amid the bliss of heaven.

Grant, we pray, almighty God,
that the splendor of your glory
may shine forth upon us
and that, by the bright rays of the Holy Spirit,
the light of your light may confirm the hearts
of those born again by your grace.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. R/. Amen.

Lord’s Prayer

And now let us pray in the Spirit as Christ the Lord taught us….

Solemn Blessing

May God, the Father of lights,
who was pleased to enlighten the disciples' minds
by the outpouring of the Spirit, the Paraclete,
grant you gladness by his blessing
and make you always abound with the gifts of the same Spirit.  R/. Amen.

May the wondrous flame that appeared above the disciples,
powerfully cleanse your hearts from every evil
and pervade them with its purifying light. R/. Amen.

And may God, who has been pleased to unite many tongues
in the profession of one faith,
give you perseverence in that same faith
and, by believing, may you journey from hope to clear vision. R/. Amen.

And may the blessing of Almighty God,
the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,
come down on you and remain with you forever. R/. Amen.

Let us go in peace, alleluia, alleluia.  R/. Thanks be to God, alleluia, alleluia.

Closing Hymn

 

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