Pentecost (A)
May 31, 2020
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.

Introit

 

Collect

O God, who by the mystery of today’s great feast

sanctify your whole Church in every people and nation,

pour out, we pray, the gifts of the Holy Spirit

across the face of the earth

and, with the divine grace that was at work

when the Gospel was first proclaimed,

fill now once more the hearts of believers.

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.  Amen.

Liturgy of the Word

First Reading (Acts 2:1-11)

When Pentecost day came round, they had all met in one room, when suddenly they heard what sounded like a powerful wind from heaven, the noise of which filled the entire house in which they were sitting; and something appeared to them that seemed like tongues of fire; these separated and came to rest on the head of each of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak foreign languages as the Spirit gave them the gift of speech.

  Now there were devout men living in Jerusalem from every nation under heaven, and at this sound they all assembled, each one bewildered to hear these men speaking his own language. They were amazed and astonished. ‘Surely’ they said ‘all these men speaking are Galileans? How does it happen that each of us hears them in his own native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; people from Mesopotamia, Judaea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya round Cyrene; as well as visitors from Rome – Jews and proselytes alike – Cretans and Arabs; we hear them preaching in our own language about the marvels of God.’

Responsorial PsalmPs 104:1, 24, 29-30, 31, 34

Bless the LORD, O my soul!
O LORD, my God, you are great indeed!
How manifold are your works, O Lord!
the earth is full of your creatures;

May the glory of the LORD endure forever;
may the LORD be glad in his works!
Pleasing to him be my theme;
I will be glad in the LORD.

If you take away their breath, they perish
and return to their dust.
When you send forth your spirit, they are created,
and you renew the face of the earth.

Second Reading (I Cor. 12:3-7, 12-13)

No one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord’ unless he is under the influence of the Holy Spirit. There is a variety of gifts but always the same Spirit; there are all sorts of service to be done, but always to the same Lord; working in all sorts of different ways in different people, it is the same God who is working in all of them. The particular way in which the Spirit is given to each person is for a good purpose. Just as a human body, though it is made up of many parts, is a single unit because all these parts, though many, make one body, so it is with Christ. In the one Spirit we were all baptised, Jews as well as Greeks, slaves as well as citizens, and one Spirit was given to us all to drink.

Golden Sequence (John Michael Talbot)

 

(Liturgical text):

Holy Spirit, Lord of Light,

From the clear celestial height

Thy pure beaming radiance give.

Come, thou Father of the poor,

Come with treasures which endure

Come, thou light of all that live!

Thou, of all consolers best,

Thou, the soul’s delightful guest,

Dost refreshing peace bestow

Thou in toil art comfort sweet

Pleasant coolness in the heat

Solace in the midst of woe.

Light immortal, light divine,

Visit thou these hearts of thine,

And our inmost being fill:

If thou take thy grace away,

Nothing pure in man will stay

All his good is turned to ill.

Heal our wounds, our strength renew

On our dryness pour thy dew

Wash the stains of guilt away:

Bend the stubborn heart and will

Melt the frozen, warm the chill

Guide the steps that go astray.

Thou, on us who evermore

Thee confess and thee adore,

With thy sevenfold gifts descend:

Give us comfort when we die

Give us life with thee on high

Give us joys that never end.

Gospel Acclamation

 

Gospel (John 20:19-23)

In the evening of the first day of the week, the doors were closed in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them. He said to them, ‘Peace be with you’, and showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were filled with joy when they saw the Lord, and he said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. ‘As the Father sent me, so am I sending you.’ After saying this he breathed on them and said: ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. For those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain, they are retained.’

Catena Nova (Prayers for use during the octave of Pentecost)

Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
enlighten our minds
to perceive the mysteries
of the universe in relation to eternity.
Spirit of right judgment and courage,
guide us and make us firm
in our baptismal decision
to follow Jesus’ way of love.
Spirit of knowledge and reverence,
help us to see the lasting value
of justice and mercy
in our everyday dealings
with one another.
May we respect life
as we work to solve problems
of family and nation,
economy and ecology.
Spirit of God,
spark our faith, hope and love
into new action each day.
Fill our lives with wonder and awe
in Your presence
which penetrates all creation. Amen. (St. Augustine)

Send upon us, O God,
the Spirit of sevenfold grace –
the spirit of wisdom,
enabling us to relish the fruit of the tree of life,
which is indeed Yourself;
the gift of understanding,
to enlighten our perceptions;
the gift of strength,
to withstand our adversary’s onslaught;
the gift of knowledge,
to distinguish good from evil
by the light of Your holy teaching;
the gift of piety,
to clothe ourselves with charity and mercy;
the gift of fear,
to withdraw from all ill-doing
and live quietly in awe of your eternal majesty.
These are the things for which we ask.
Grant them for the honour of Your Holy Name,
to which, with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
be all honour and glory,
thanksgiving, renown
and lordship forever and ever. Amen. (St. Bonaventure)

Holy Spirit, come into my heart;
draw it to Thee by Thy power,
O my God,
and grant me charity with filial fear.
Preserve me,
O beautiful love,
from every evil thought,
warm me,
inflame me with Thy dear love
and every pain will seem light to me.
My Father,
my sweet Lord,
help me in all my actions.
Jesus, love, Jesus, love. Amen. (St. Catherine of Siena)

O God,
send forth Your Holy Spirit
into my heart
that I may perceive,
into my mind,
that I may remember,
and into my soul,
that I may meditate.
Inspire me to speak
with piety,
holiness,
tenderness
and mercy.
Teach, guide and direct my thoughts
and senses, from beginning to end.
May Your grace,
ever help and correct me,
and may I be strengthened now
with wisdom from on high,
for the sake of Your infinite mercy. Amen. (St. Anthony of Padua)

You are fire, enkindle in me Your love.
You are light, enlighten my mind
with the knowledge of eternal things.
You are the Dove, give me innocence of life.
You are the gentle Breeze,
disperse the storms of my passions.
You are the Tongue,
teach me how to bless You always.
You are the Cloud,
shelter me under the shadow of Your protection.
And lastly, You are the Giver of all heavenly gifts,
animate me,
I beseech You, with Your grace, sanctify me
with Your charity, enlighten me
with Your wisdom, adopt me by Your goodness as Your child
and save me in Your infinite mercy,
so that I may ever bless You, praise You and love You,
first during this life on earth,
and then in heaven for all eternity. Amen. (St. Alphonsus Liguori)

My most Holy Lord and Sanctifier,
If I differ at all from the world,
it is because You have chosen me out of the world
and have lit up the love of God, in my heart.
If I differ from Your Saints, it is because I do not ask
earnestly enough for Your grace and for enough of it
and because I do not diligently improve
what You have given me.
Increase in me this grace of love,
in spite of all my unworthiness.
It is more precious than anything else in the world.
I accept it in place of all the world can give me.
O give it to me! It is my life.
Come Holy Spirit, Come!  Amen. (St. John Henry Newman)

O Spirit of God, Spirit of love and of mercy,
Who pours into my heart the balm of trust,
Your grace confirms my soul in what is good,
Giving it an invincible strength – constancy!

O Spirit of God, Spirit of peace and of joy,
Who comforts my thirsting heart,
Pour into it the living spring of divine love
And make it dauntless in battle.

O Spirit of God, my soul’s most lovable guest,
I, for my part, desire to be faithful to You
In days of joy, as much as in days of suffering.
Spirit of God, I desire to live always in Your presence.

O Spirit of God who penetrates my being
And lets me know Your divine and Trinitarian life,
You initiate me to Your divine Being;
Thus united with You, I have eternal life. (St  Faustina Kowalska)

Who are You,
sweet Light, that fills me
And illumines
the darkness of my heart?
You lead me like a mother’s hand,
And should You let go of me,
I would not know
how to take another step.
You are the space
That embraces my being
and buries it in Yourself.
Away from You,
it sinks into the abyss
Of nothingness,
from which You raised it to the light.
You, nearer to me than I to myself
And more interior
than my most interior
And still impalpable
and intangible
And beyond any name,
Holy Spirit eternal love! Amen. (St. Benedicta of the Cross/Edith Stein)

Homily

Lost and Found in Translation

            My first assignment was an Italian parish in Toronto.  Despite my family background, I did not speak Italian so I hired a tutor who got me up to speed enough to celebrate Mass.  One of the things she emphasized were “interferenze” – words that seem to mean the same thing in English as in Italian because they look so much alike.  For example, you might think a “fattoria” is a factory, but you would be wrong.  It’s a farm.  And while “fabbrica” looks like fabric, in fact it’s a factory while “stoffa” is fabric – but not stuff which is “roba!”  So how you like to translate the following sentence: “What kind of fabric is the robe made of that they make at the factory near the farm?”

            What confusion language creates, even when it seems not to be so very different from your native tongue. But trying to get your point across when people speak an utterly foreign language is nigh impossible. I was asked once if I would like to start a mission for my community in South Korea – until I was told to forget about learning the language.

            But when people are coming from different belief systems, ideologies or perspectives it’s almost as bad. Look at the endless debates in this country about health care, taxation, gun control legislation and the federal budget. Donald Trump and Joe Biden might as well speak another language and the Washington Monument might as well be another Tower of Babel. And Congress isn’t so different from that language-challenged crowd gathered in Jerusalem on  the first Pentecost from every nation under heaven (I). That’s what happens when obvious disagreement and lack of trust stands in the way of communication. Things end up being so much “babble.”

            Which is a word everyone understands.  It’s pretty much the same in every language. It means confusion. And as long as Towers of Babel stand tall, we’ll never bridge the distance between people, no matter what their language or culture, nation or race, politics or religion, gender or sexual orientation might be.

            And what will it take to end the confusion? Only a new spirit, a Holy Spirit, can bridge the great divide.  Only the Spirit of Pentecost, who comes in wind and fire: to blow down our towers and melt our frozen tongues. Only the Spirit of Pentecost can end our squab­bling, our dissension, our pettiness, and make us turn toward one another.  Only the Spirit of Pentecost can make us one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons (II).

            For only the Spirit of Pentecost builds a Church -- and not a Tower -- a Church that  calls itself catholic – “universal”-- where all people are at home. Where we all speak the same language of faith: a language whose meaning we know, because God’s interpreter, the Spirit, lets us grasp God’s deeds of power (I).

            But you know, it’s not just God’s word we can understand since Pentecost. There’s something in the Acts of the Apostles I hope you didn’t miss. Namely, those devout Jews didn’t just hear the apostles speaking in their own languages (I) that day. No, those people from all over the world--from the farthest province of Asia to Rome itself--began speaking to each other as well. And they understood each other, asking: “How is it that we hear, each of us, in our own language”? (I)  For you see, “when the Spirit comes, all understand each other, not because one language is restored . . .but because each hears his or her own language spoken” (Miroslav Wolf, Exclusion and Embrace, 228).  That’s the miracle of Pentecost!

            And what of us? How shall we hear what others say, as if they were speaking our own language?  Not hearing what we want to hear or what we think they should say.  But hearing them with understanding, despite our differences? Despite the towers that fear, and prejudice, insecurity and suspicion, erect between us?  Not to mention the deep polar divides that exist today in both church and state?

            Well apparently, by letting them near enough to speak – while keeping social distancing, of course! By permitting a very diverse crowd to gather in one place, where differences of culture and viewpoint, social status and even politics, are included. That’s the kind of “catholic” crowd we see assembled on Pentecost.

            But this requires a new language all its own, doesn’t it? A language of openness, respect, and tolerance. No other language permits understanding between people. Though I’m under no illusions about the “interferenze” we are facing today as charges of “fake news” and claims of “alternative facts” and “fact-checking” cloud public discourse to the point where even legitimate measures to protect one’s own health, and that of others, have become politicized flash points where six feet apart might as well be six thousand.

            In other words, when language is used to threaten, shake, and intimidate us. Which is very different from words that call us to sometimes painful growth and deeper searches for truth. And yes, we need to exercise great caution should someone else’s speech astound, challenge or  amaze us. After all, we are instructed to test the spirits (1 John 4:1).  

            Still, from our respective political and theological camps that no longer speak to each other -- much less understand -- Pentecost renews the challenge to learn that new language of respect, openness and tolerance, no matter the effort – even if, in the end, what we hear causes too much “interference” and we get lost in the translation unable to comprehend another’s speech.     

            It’s something like learning a foreign tongue was for me, one that allowed others to hear me speak in their own language and me to understand theirs. But no matter how good a tutor you might have, it’s nearly impossible to master another language. My Italian will always be accented and broken, as were my parishioners’ English.  Worse, many of them spoke a dialect I could not capire. And I could tell you lots more stories about miscommunication!

            So speaking – and listening – is always a challenge, but also a chance to broaden horizons and foster human ties. As it can be for us as we learn – when God permits – to come once more to this table, to eat of the one loaf and drink of the one cup, even though we are many parts, in the one body of Christ (II). Who lives and reigns, forever and ever.  Amen. 

Intercessions

That the Church, in the power of the Spirit, may make the Gospel understandable to people of every race, language, and culture.

That the Holy Spirit of Peace may unite and reconcile the peoples and nations of the earth, bringing an end to war, hatred, and discrimination.

For the leaders of all nations that the Spirit will guide them during this most challenging and un-certain time.

That the Holy Spirit, Lord and Giver of Life, may renew the face of the earth and make it a place where the poor are fed, the strangers are welcomed, and the unborn are brought safely to birth.

That each baptized Christian may develop more fully his or her response to all the gifts which the Spirit bestows for the service of the Body of Christ.

For those who are sick, especially those suffering from Covid-19 and the health professionals who care for them, may God grant them healing.

That the Holy Spirit, who purifies us of sin and raises the dead, may bring all our departed loved ones into the fullness of God's presence.

Father, we rejoice in your Spirit. Send him again into our hearts, into our lives, and into our world. Hear our prayers, and save us in your love. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Offertory Chant

 

Lord’s Prayer

In the Spirit of adoption, we pray as Jesus taught us….

Spiritual Communion

Lord Jesus Christ, you remain present to us through the gift of the Spirit and the Eucharist. While we cannot receive you today in the Sacrament be with us spiritually by the indwelling Paraclete whom the Father poured forth in fulfillment of your promise to be with us until you come again in glory.

Communion Chant

 

Closing Hymn

 

HYMN

Antiphon
The Spirit of God rests upon me.
The Spirit of God consecrates me.
The Spirit of God bids me go forth to proclaim his peace, his joy.

The Spirit of God sends me forth,
Called to witness the kingdom of Christ among all the nations;
Called to proclaim the good news of Christ to the poor.
My spirit rejoices in God, my Savior. Antiphon

The Sprit of God sends me forth,
Called to witness the kingdom of Christ among all the nations;
Called to console the hearts overcome with great sorrow.
My spirit rejoices in God, my Savior. Antiphon

The Spirit of God sends me forth,
Called to witness the kingdom of Christ among all the nations;
Called to comfort the poor who mourn and who weep.
My spirit rejoices in God, my Savior. Antiphon

The Spirit of God sends me forth,
Called to witness the kingdom of Christ among all the nations;
Called to announce the grace of salvation to all.
My spirit rejoices in God my Savior. Antiphon

The Spirit of God sends me forth,
Called to witness the kingdom of Christ among all the nations;
Called to reveal the glory of God among all the people.
My spirit rejoices in God, my Savior Antiphon

Lucien Deiss, C.S.sp.

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