Pentecost (A)
May 28, 2023
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.






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,
God, for ever and ever. Amen. (RM)

Almighty God, on this day you opened the way of eternal life
to every race and nation by the promised gift of your Holy
Spirit: Shed abroad this gift throughout the world by the
preaching of the Gospel, that it may reach to the ends of the
earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns
with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever
and ever. Amen. (BCP)

Almighty God,
at the feast of Pentecost
you sent your Holy Spirit to the disciples,
filling them with joy and boldness
to preach the gospel;
empower us with that same Spirit
to witness to your redeeming love
and draw all people to you;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Amen. (BCW)

First Reading (Acts 2:1-11)

When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled,
   they were all in one place together.
And suddenly there came from the sky
   a noise like a strong driving wind,
   and it filled the entire house in which they were.
Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire,
   which parted and came to rest on each one of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit
   and began to speak in different tongues,
   as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.

Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven staying in Jerusalem.
At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd,
   but they were confused
   because each one heard them speaking in his own language.
They were astounded, and in amazement they asked,
   “Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans?
Then how does each of us hear them in his own native language?
We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites,
   inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia,
   Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia,
   Egypt and the districts of Libya near Cyrene,
   as well as travelers from Rome,
   both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs,
   yet we hear them speaking in our own tongues
   of the mighty acts of God.” 

Responsorial Psalm 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)

 Brothers and sisters:
No one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the holy Spirit.
There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit;
   there are different forms of service but the same Lord;
   there are different workings but the same God
   who produces all of them in everyone.
To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit
   is given for some benefit.

As a body is one though it has many parts,
   and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body,
   so also Christ.
For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body,
   whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons,
   and we were all given to drink of one Spirit.

Golden Sequence


Come, Holy Spirit, come!
And from your celestial home
   Shed a ray of light divine!

Come, Father of the poor!
Come, source of all our store!
   Come, within our bosoms shine.

You, of comforters the best;
You, the soul’s most welcome guest;
   Sweet refreshment here below;

In our labor, rest most sweet;
Grateful coolness in the heat;
   Solace in the midst of woe.

O most blessed Light divine,
Shine within these hearts of yours,
   And our inmost being fill!

Where you are not, we have naught,
Nothing good in deed or thought,
   Nothing free from taint and ill.

Heal our wounds, our strength renew;
On our dryness pour your 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.

On the faithful, who adore
And confess you, evermore
   In your sevenfold gift descend;

Give them virtue’s sure reward;
Give them your salvation, Lord;
   Give them joys that never end. Amen.

Gospel Acclamation

Gospel (John 20:19-23)

On the evening of that first day of the week,
   when the doors were locked, where the disciples were,
   for fear of the Jews,
   Jesus came and stood in their midst
   and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
   “Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
   and whose sins you retain are retained.” 

Catena Nova

Great beyond all description, beloved, are the gifts which in his love God gave us on this day. Let us then rejoice together and be glad as we give our Lord praise: this is a great feast for us. Like the changing seasons which succeed one another throughout the year, the feast days of the Church follow an orderly progression, each one leading on to the next. Not long ago we celebrated the passion and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and then his ascension into heaven. Today we have reached the supreme and final grace, the most important feast, the actual fulfilment of the Lord’s promise. If I go away, he said, I will send you another Comforter; I will not leave you orphans. Do you not see his care for us and his boundless love? He first ascended to heaven once more to sit on his royal throne at the right hand of the Father. Now, on this day, he gives us the Holy Spirit and through him he sends us innumerable heavenly graces. Indeed, which of the graces necessary for our salvation is not given us through the Holy Spirit? Through the Holy Spirit we are freed from slavery and called to liberty; we are raised to the status of sons and daughters; we are in a sense recreated and we lay down the heavy and foul burden of our sins.... It is one and the same Spirit who does all this. He divides his gifts among us as he wills. Do you not see how complete the power of the Spirit is? Clearly, those who have the same nature must have the same authority; those who have the same dignity must have the same power and dominion. Through the Holy Spirit we have obtained the remission of our sins and we have washed away all defilement. By his gift, we who have had recourse to grace have been changed from human beings into angels. I do not mean that our nature has been changed, but something much more wonderful: while remaining human we live the way the angels do. So great is the power of the Holy Spirit. (St. John Chrysostom)

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)

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,
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)

The dove descending breaks the air
With flame of incandescent terror
Of which the tongues declare
The one discharge from sin and error.
The only hope, or else despair
    Lies in the choice of pyre or pyre-
    To be redeemed from fire by fire.

Who then devised the torment?  Love.
Love is the unfamiliar Name
Behind the hands that wove
The intolerable shirt of flame
Which human power cannot remove.
    We only live, only suspire
    Consumed by either fire or fire.  (T.S.Eliot)


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 – not stuff which is “roba" — and that has nothing to do with something you wear called an "accappatoio!”  So how would you like to translate the following sentence: “What kind of fabric is the bathrobe made of that they make at the factory near the farm?”
What confusion language creates, even when it seems not 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 ever learning the language.
And when people are coming from different belief systems, ideologies or perspectives it’s almost as bad. Look at the seemingly intractable debate going on at the moment over the federal debt ceiling.  Kevin McCarthy and Joe Biden might as well speak another language and the Washington Monument might as well be another Tower of Babel.  Add to that the controversies raging throughout the country about gun control, abortion, gender identity, climate change and immigration.  It all makes for a situation not very 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 stand 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 dares   call 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 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, how 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 – overcoming our various forms of social distancing.  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 we find ourselves in what some call a "post-truth" era.  Newly-minted phrases like “fake news,” “alternative facts” and “fact-checking” all cloud public discourse.  When language is often used to threaten, shake, intimidate and deceive us. Which, by the way, is very different from words that call us to sometimes painful growth and deeper searches for truth. 
I'm reminded of a conversation I had with my nephew on Mother's Day.  He's a Trump supporter, while I am not.  He's also against our supporting the war in Ukraine, which I do.  When I asked him why he said because Ukraine more than once refused to join NATO.  He cited what sounded like a very credible source, so had me stumped.  When I got home, I looked it up and lo and behold, it's true.  Did this change me mind?  No.  I still disagree with my nephew, but at least I understood the reasons for his position — based on facts.

So 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 making us 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.  
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.  Who lives and reigns, forever and ever.  Amen.  


Intercessions (Joe Milner; The Sunday Website)

For the Church: that we may faithfully confess Jesus as Lord and be guided by the Holy Spirit to continue the mission of Christ in our time.

For a new Pentecost: that God will pour out the Spirit in a new and abundant way to renew humanity and all of creation.

For a Spirit of unity: that God will destroy all the divisions that separate the human family and restore our ability to work together against disease, famine, and injustice.

For a Spirit of truth: that we may open our minds and hearts to all the ways that truth is manifest particularly in the scriptures, tradition, the wisdom of those who have gone before us, and in the humanities and the sciences.

For a Spirit of justice in the world: that the needy, the exploited, the abused, and the victims of war may know freedom, relief from oppression, and their dignity as daughters and sons of God.

For a Spirit of reverence: that all hearts may recognize God as creator and work to protect and preserve God’s gift of creation, our common home.

For a Spirit of Peace: that God will dissolve the hatred in human hearts, free the earth from nuclear weapons, and establish a season of peace throughout the world.

God of majesty and glory,
you bring us to the day
that crowns our joyful Easter feast.
Open for us the fountain of living waters
promised to the faithful,
that the outpouring of the Spirit
may reveal Christ’s glory
and enlighten all who wait in hope
for the glorious day of redemption.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen. (ICEL; 1998)

Offertory Chant

Offertory Hymn (St. Hildegard of Bingen)

Spiritus sanctus vivificans vita movens omnia, et radix est in omni creatura ac omnia de inmunditia abluit, tergens crimina ac ungit vulnera, et sic est fulgens ac laudabilis vita, suscitans et resuscitans omnia.

Holy spirit, making life alive, moving in all things, root of all created being, cleansing the cosmos of every impurity, effacing guilt, anointing wounds. You are lustrous and praiseworthy life, You waken and re-awaken everything that is.

Communion Chant


Closing Hymn


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

Lucien Deiss, C.S.sp.