The Express Decenarium of the Holy Spirit, Pentecost Vigil, May 23, 2015

Fr. Roger J. Landry
Visitation Convent of the Sisters of Life, New York
Vigil of Pentecost
May 23, 2015
Gen 11:1-9, Ps 33, Ex 19:3-8.16-20, Ps 19: 8-11, Ezek 37:1-14, Ps 107, Joel 3:1-5, Ps 104, Rom 8:22-27, Jn 7:37-39

 

To listen to an audio recording of this homily, please click below: 

 

The following text guided the homily: 

The Advent of the Advocate

God gave us a great gift before Mass began tonight. Everyone was jammed here in this Upper Room chapel of Visitation Convent, three people to pews that normally fit two, and what did we do? We waited. We waited patiently. We waited with prayer. What we thought would be a wait of a couple of minutes turned into a wait of 20, as the Sisters were finishing printing all of the programs we’d need to sing. Why was it such a gift? Precisely because it is a small taste of what the apostles and Mary did during the period awaiting the Holy Spirit.

On Ascension Thursday, we pondered how Jesus, at his Ascension, enjoined the apostles not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the “promise of the Father” about which they had heard him speak, for “in a few days,” he said, “you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” The apostles and the other followers of Jesus huddled around Mary in the Upper Room and “devoted themselves with one accord to prayer.” They prayed and they waited. Jesus hadn’t told them how long they were to wait in prayerful expectation for the promise to be fulfilled. So their first holy hour stretched into a day of recollection. They eventually went to bed and awakened and prayed a whole second day. They might have thought that, just as God the Father had had them wait until the third day for Jesus’ resurrection, the Holy Spirit would come after three days that seemed like an eternity. But he didn’t come. So they prayed a fourth day. A fifth day. Now this was taking on the form of a retreat. A sixth day. They were doubtless wondering if the Holy Spirit would come on the seventh day, the day of divine rest. But they were thwarted again. The eighth day. Were they going to have to do this forever? The ninth day. They kept praying and waiting. The tenth day. And it was finally on the eleventh day, the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit burst through the windows of the Upper Room like the noise of a strong driving wind, came down upon each of them as tongues of fire, filled them with himself, and sent them forth to renew the face of the earth.

Every December we enter into the liturgical season called Advent, when we recapitulate the waiting of the Jews for the coming of the Messiah and the ardent waiting of the Church for Jesus’ second coming. And just like that liturgical season helps us to prepare for Jesus’ coming in history, mystery and majesty, so what we can call the “Advent of the Advocate” is similarly important for us to prepare for the Holy Spirit’s coming in the past and in the present in order to help and guide us to live forever. In many places, this period of prayer is referred to as a Novena, but it’s only a novena — a nine-day period of prayer — if you don’t pray on the Feast of the Ascension. In many parts of the Church, it’s called rather a “decenarium,” to refer to the fact that we pray for ten straight days. And I think understanding this period of prayerful expectation as a decenarium allows us to grasp a little bit more easily the liturgical structure of this Pentecost vigil, which I know many of you are attending for the first time.

The Express Decenarium

Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta used to have the practice of what she termed an Express Novena. Whenever a huge need came up in which she didn’t have the time to do a traditional nine-days of prayer — for example, while a child was dying, or a sister needed a visa immediately, or a cease fire had to be declared in a war zone in which she was caring for the wounded, or food needed to arrive almost miraculously to feed more homeless people than expected — she would devoutly pray ten consecutive Memorares on the spot, the first nine for the novena, and the tenth confidently to thank our Lady for having successfully interceded for the favor to be received. We’ll we could say that the Pentecost Vigil is an Express Decenarium of prayerful waiting for the Holy Spirit. In the ten readings — Four readings and four Psalms from the Old Testament, the Epistle and the Gospel, given by Jesus about the Holy Spirit who would come — the Church forms us to get ready for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit tomorrow. They retrace our need for the Holy Spirit and are meant to increase our longing for him. As the Church instructs us in the Opening admonition before the Liturgy of the Word sets the stage of how we, in this Express Decenarium, recapitulate the experience of Mary and the apostles. “Dear brothers and sisters,” the liturgy tells us, “we have now begun our Pentecost Vigil, after the example of the Apostles and disciples, who with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, persevered in prayer, awaiting the Spirit promised by the Lord; like them, let us, too, listen with quiet hearts to the Word of God. Let us meditate on how many great deeds God in times past did for his people and let us pray that the Holy Spirit, whom the Father sent as the first fruits for those who believe, may bring to perfection his work in the world.” And so tonight with “quiet hearts” it’s key for us to observe both the “great deeds” and the “perfection” of those deeds brought about by the Holy Spirit. We can examine it in six stages.

The Purpose of our Speech

The first is what God did in ancient Babel, which are words that all of us in New York, surrounded by so many skyscrapers, need to take particularly seriously! The residents of Babel said, “Let us build ourselves a city … and so make a name for ourselves.” They were coordinating not to allow God to build them up as a people — something he had been doing since creation and the second chance with Noah — and glorify his name but to try to establish a relationship with God on their own terms and let his name (signifying his person) wane in importance to the glory of their own name, ingenuity and engineering. And so God responded by confusing their speech so that they wouldn’t understand each other and be able to conspire in such a way. The Responsorial Psalm draws a contrast between the way God will often frustrate our plans when they would harm the fulfillment of his own: “The Lord brings to nought the plans of nations. He foils the designs of peoples. But the plan of the Lord stands forever. The design of his heart through all generations.” Because God has “fashioned the heart of each, and knows all their works,” he’s able to do this adroitly. But God was confusing their speech only for a time. He was awaiting the time in which we would use our speech to speak to God and about him, to use our ability to communicate to bring us into communion with God and others. We prayed in the Collect of the Mass, that God would 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.” And at the end of this first of four Old Testament cycles of reading, psalm response, and prayer, we talked about the fulfillment of that one confession and reestablishment of communication that would happen on Pentecost, begging God, “ “Grant… that your Church may always remain that holy people, formed as one by the unity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit,” and “manifest to the world the Sacrament of your holiness and unity and leads it to the perfection of your charity.” We needed new wine skins to receive the new wine of God in order to collaborate not to build the city of man to our own personal fame but to build the kingdom of God to the glory of God’s name and the joy of every Christian. That’s the first thing we long for during this Advent of the Advocate.

Help to Live in the New and Eternal Covenant

The next lesson happens with the Jews in the desert exodus on the top of Mt. Sinai, which focused on the covenant God seeks to establish with us. God tells Moses to say to the people, “If you hearken to my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my special possession, dearer to me than all other people. … You shall be to me a kingdom of priests, a holy nation.” After the people said, “Everything the Lord has said, we will do,” the Lord sealed the covenant, wrapping Mt. Sinai in a cloud and smoke symbolic of his mysterious presence, coming down in fire, in the midst of thunder, lighting and trumpet blasts. These were all signs of how we would renew that relationship with his people on Pentecost, shaking the walls of the upper room, coming down as tongues of fire, and giving us the new law, which the Catechism of the Catholic Church says is “the grace of the Holy Spirit given to the faithful through faith in Christ (CCC 1966). If in response to the Covenant given on Mt. Sinai, we responded in the psalm, saying, “Lord, you have the words of everlasting life” and treating the law of the covenant as perfect, refreshing, trustworthy, wise, right, joy-filled, clear, illuminating, pure, true, just, precious, and sweet, how much more should we thank the Lord for giving us the Spirit of everlasting life! That’s what we pray we will have the ability to do in the collect that concludes this second Old Testament Cycle. “O God, who in fire and lightning gave the ancient Law to Moses on Mount Sinai and on this day manifested the new covenant in the fire of the Spirit, grant, we pray, that we may always be aflame with that same Spirit whom you wondrously poured out on your Apostles, and that the new Israel, gathered from every people, may receive with rejoicing the eternal commandment of your love.” This is what we’re waiting for. This is what the Spirit wants to do!

Coming Alive

The third lesson is given to us through the Prophet Ezekiel. God tells him two times to prophesy. The first is to announce to desiccated, fleshless skeletons, a symbol first of how the House of Israel was dried up, with hope lost and cut off from God: “Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord!” and then to say, “I will bring spirit into you, that you may come to life.” God announced that he was going to raise them from their graves, bring them back to the promised land and put his own spirit in them so that they might live. The second prophecy was to the Holy Spirit Himself. God tells Ezekiel, “Prophesy to the Spirit, prophesy, son of man, and say to the spirit: … From the four winds come, O Spirit, and breathe into these slain that they may come to life.” This is a prophecy not just of the return from exile or even of the resurrection, but it also refers to a spiritual condition. We’re often like walking cadavers, just full of dead men’s bones. We have bios, biological life, but not zoe, or the life of the soul. But God doesn’t leave us there. As we responded in the Psalm, we give thanks to the lord for he is good and his mercy endures forever, for he rescues us, redeems us, gathers us when we’re lost, hungry, thirsty, in distress, peril, when our life is ebbing away, he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with goods things. That’s what God the Father has done for us in Jesus and that’s what the Father and the Son continue to do for us in the Holy Spirit. That’s why we pray in the Collect that synthesizes the third cycle, “O God, who have brought us to rebirth by the word of life, pour out upon us your Holy Spirit, that walking in oneness of faith, may attain in our flesh the incorruptible glory of the resurrection.” The Holy Spirit helps us to attain in our flesh, even right now, a down payment on the incorruptible glory of the Resurrection, because he breathes into us the life of Christ! That’s what we pray and long for. That’s what the Holy Spirit seeks to deliver!

Prophesying

The fourth lesson comes in what God announces to us through the prophet Joel, that he will pour out his spirit upon all flesh, so that all his sons and daughters will prophesy. He graphically says that old men, who are normally prone to cynicism, shall dream, and young men who are generally not wise enough to perceive the things of God shall see visions of God, and that even the servants, who were considered not capable of much, will receive the Spirit. That’s what we pray for in the Psalm, when we beg the Lord to send forth his spirit to renew the face of the earth. We beg him in the concluding prayer, “Fulfill for us your gracious promise, O Lord, we pray, so that by his coming the Holy Spirit may make us witnesses before the world to the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” We’re all called to prophesy, to cooperate with God in announcing that Christ is alive, that he has saved us, that he continues his work of redemption in his Mystical Body the Church by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit has been sent so that all of us might prophesy and that’s what he wants to do when he comes down as tongues of fire.

The First Fruits and Perfection

There are two other lessons, taken from the New Testament, which is a time of partial fulfillment through the coming of the Spirit, but also partial longing for the fulfillment of the Spirit’s work. In the Epistle, St. Paul tells the Christians in Rome and us that we have received the “first fruits of the Spirit,” the best of gifts but not the entirety of them, and that we and all of creation are groaning in labor pains awaiting the redemption of our bodies, to bring our bodies back into harmony with our souls and totally in harmony with God, offering our bodies and our blood with Christ to the Father for the salvation of the human race. The Holy Spirit, St. Paul continues, comes to the aid of our weakness in doing so, teaching us how to pray as we ought and interceding for us. Just as we’re waiting, so is the Holy Spirit, to give us all the fruits and turn our inexpressible groanings into effable and everlasting praise!

Fons Vivus

The last of the lessons takes place in the Gospel. Jesus explicitly addresses the thirst, the desires, that people have for God and says, “Let anyone who thirsts come to me and drink. For Scripture says, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from within him who believes in me.’” But the means to quench that thirst, St. John tells us, was “the Spirit that those who came to believe in him were to receive.” Jesus had told the Samaritan woman at the well that if she were to ask him, he would give her a stream welling up within her to eternal life — and that gift was the gift of the Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit is the fons vivus we sing about in the Veni Creator Spiritus. This Gospel is given to us at the Easter Vigil because Jesus said it well before his passion and as St. John commented, “There was, of course, no Spirit yet, because Jesus had not yet been glorified.” Well, there was, of course, the Spirit existing from all eternity together with the Father and the Son, but he had not yet been sent as that stream of living water. The culmination of this entire Decenarium of readings is for us to thirst more for the Holy Spirit whom Jesus wants to give us inside so that he can be constantly refreshing us, constantly hydrating us with holiness, constantly giving life to everything in us like the water trickling from the side of the Temple in Ezekiel’s prophecy brought life even to the desert and raised the Dead Sea from its lifeless state.

The Uniqueness of this Year’s Celebration of Pentecost

That’s the fulfillment for which we’re waiting. And this year we have a special way to appreciate it, because the Church is marking the first Year of Consecrated Life in ecclesiastical annals. A Holy Year like the one we’re marking needs to influence everything the Church does over the course of the observance and, for that reason, the theme of the consecrated life ought to influence our celebration of Pentecost and the work of the Holy Spirit ought likewise to influence our understanding of the consecrated life that flows from baptism and is expressed in a “more intimate form” in the public consecrations of men and women religious, those in secular institutes and societies of apostolic life, consecrated virgins, hermits and widows and the various other manifestations that the Holy Spirit has raised up in recent years. Over the course of this Year of Consecrated Life, I have been pondering in retreats and on the major feasts ten things every Catholic can learn about the Christian life from those who are living this more intimate form of consecration. Today we can see very briefly how the Holy Spirit helps us to live out all ten things.

  • With regard to the meaning of consecration itself as a sense of belonging to God, a cutting off (sacer) in order to be with God (con), it is the Holy Spirit who assists us to belong totally to God as he makes us his holy temple.
  • Concerning prayer, as St. Paul reminds us tonight, we don’t know how to pray as we should but the Holy Spirit helps us to cry out “Abba, Father!” and pray as beloved sons and daughters who know that the Father who cares for us more than the lilies or sparrows will never give us a stone when we ask for bread.
  • With Charity, there’s good reason why we call the Holy Spirit “Caritas,” in the Veni Creator and ask him, “infunde amorem cordibus,” to infuse love into our hearts. It’s he that produces in us the fruit of love.
  • Relative to the Communion that religious show us in community life, we know that the Holy Spirit himself is the unity between the Father and the Son in the Blessed Trinity and he has been sent to make us one body, one spirit in Christ.
  • With regard to the evangelical counsel of poverty, we invoke him in the Veni, Sancte Spiritus sequence tomorrow as the “Pater Pauperum,” as the Father of the Poor. It’s he who helps us to become poor in spirit, who gives us a spirit of detachment out of attachment to the Lord. He also helps us to appreciate far more the true treasures of our faith, of the Sacraments, of prayer, of each other, of the Church.
  • In terms of the counsel of obedience, it is the Holy Spirit who reminds us of everything Jesus has taught, who helps us to attune to God’s voice speaking through the gift of counsel through the moral law, through the Church and through our superiors. Through the same gift of prudence he helps us to alight our choices to God’s will, and through the gift of fear of the Lord, he helps us to love God in such a manner that we seek never to displease him in the least way.
  • With regard to Chastity, it is the Holy Spirit who lights us on fire with love for God and others, and helps us to burn with a pure, white flame. We call him our “Consolator optime,” our supreme Consoler greater than the great consolations of the love of marriage and human families of our own.
  • Concerning our Mission, he came down as tongues of fire so that we might proclaim the Gospel with ardent love. He is the one who gives witness with and through us. He is the one who gives us the words to say when we are in front of those demanding a reason for the hope that is within us.
  • With the Joy that is characteristic of the consecrated life, we know that joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit and an infallible sign of the Spirit’s presence within.
  • Finally concerning the eschatological dimension of the Christian consecrated life, seeking God’s face, we know that it is the Holy Spirit who helps us to seek the thing that are above, to have a great humger for God and the things of God, for eternity, for holiness, happiness and heaven.

If we wish to live out the consecration of our baptism, if we wish to live out our Marian consecrations, if we wish to live well public consecration in the Church, if we want Christ’s consecrating himself so that we might be consecrated in the truth to take full root, then we need to live according to the Holy Spirit, because the consecrated life is a charismatic life!

The Spirit’s Help in our Mission

And among those of us here present tonight — Sisters of Life and their coworkers on the one hand and various Catholics involved in the work of the United Nations on the other — we ought to ponder how the Holy Spirit wants to help us to live out our baptismal or more intimate consecrations within these contexts that are occasionally difficult. In the work of each, we can say with the words of tomorrow’s Sequence, “Veni Sancte Spiritus et emitte caelitus lucis tuae radium,” “Come, Holy Spirit, and send forth a ray of your light divine,” because in so many ways we need his light to illumine darkness. When we work united with him, we can say truly, “In labore requies” and “in fletu solatium,” because the Holy Spirit brings us refreshment in the midst of our labors and solace in the midst of tears. We’ve seen first hand what we proclaim, “Sine tuo numine, nihil est in homine, nihil est innoxium” that without his presence, some many become lifeless and noxious. And that’s why we beg him in the Sequence to do the work we need in our apostolates, starting with us: to cleanse what is unclean, to irrigate what is dry, to heal what is wounded, to bend what is stubborn, to warm what is cold, to get back on the straight path what is deviant. And in our work the Holy Spirit gives us his seven fold gift, which we need so desperately in order to do what might on occasion seem impossible. His gift of wisdom helps us to see things with his own eyes and therefore the way they really are. His gift of knowledge helps us to remember all that’s he taught us. The gift of understanding helps us to see the connections between truths so that we might be able better to persuade. His gift of counsel helps us to order our choices toward God and help others to do so as well. The gift of reverence helps us not only to give all the God the love he deserves in our work and lives but also to revere those we serve and with whom we collaborate, in a way that fill them with a sense of the enormous dignity every human being has in God’s eyes. The gift of awe or fear of the Lord helps us to grow in love of the Lord such that we would never want to displease him in the least way. And finally the gift of courage helps us to overcome our fears and do what’s right despite our fears. How much our work would change, how much our lives would change, if we became more docile to the Holy Spirit and his seven-fold gifts. And how much our results at work would change if we gave greater permission to the Holy Spirit to work within us, bearing in us the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-mastery that can’t help attract people to God in us and to the help we’re trying to give. On the day of our Confirmation — and today is the 29th anniversary of my Confirmation — with the future in mind, the Holy Spirit came down upon us to be our helper and guide. On this prayerful vigil, we renew our thirst for that assistance and celestial leadership.

The Perpetual Pentecost

And we finish where the Holy Spirit always seeks to lead us here on earth and from which he seeks to send us out: the Upper Room. Pope Benedict XVI said in 2008, “The Eucharist is a ‘perpetual Pentecost’ since every time we celebrate Mass we receive the Holy Spirit who unites us more deeply with Christ and transforms us into Him.” It’s during Mass that we have the epiclesis in which we call down the Holy Spirit upon the priest and the altar totally to change bread and wine into Jesus’ body and blood, and then we call him down to change men and women into Christ’s mystical body. This is the way the Holy Spirit seeks to bring his “first fruits” to a life of fruitfulness, to bring the longings of centuries to perfection. Since I started celebrating Masses here in this beautiful chapel at the beginning of March, I’ve always been a little startled by the fact that the sculpture of the Holy Spirit over the altar is off-center. Symmetry, of course, is a principle of architectural perfection often used in Churches and Chapels to symbolize God’s perfection, and yet the Holy Spirit here is slightly off-center, something I notice every time I look up in prayer. But eventually, I think, the Holy Spirit gave me an allegorical interpretation that helps me to understand his work better during Mass and in my life. He’s off center lest I be tempted to box him into my previously conceived categories. He who blows where we wills doesn’t have to come straight down the runway, but can come from the right, from the left, from behind, from upfront, and blow us wherever he wills. Tonight as we look up to the image of him on the ceiling, we thank him for coming at us tonight from various angles in this Express Decenarium of the Pentecost Vigil and we thank him as well for what he’s about to do in the perpetual Pentecost of the Mass. With holy longing and grateful appreciation, we turn to him and pray, ““Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in us the fire of your love!” Veni, Creator Spiritus! Veni, Sancte Spiritus! We’ve been waiting for you. Do your thing!

 

The readings for this Mass were: 

A Reading from the Book of Genesis 11:1-9

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.

Responsorial          Psalm (33 [32]: 10-11, 12-13,14-15

R. (12) Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
The LORD brings to nought the plans of nations;
he foils the designs of peoples.
But the plan of the LORD stands forever;
the design of his heart, through all generations.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
Blessed the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people he has chosen for his own inheritance.
From heaven the LORD looks down;
he sees all mankind.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
From his fixed throne he beholds
all who dwell on the earth,
He who fashioned the heart of each,
he who knows all their works.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.

A reading from the book of Exodus           19: 3-8, 16-20b

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.

Responsorial           Ps 19:8, 9, 10, 11

R. (9ab) You have the words of everlasting life.
The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul.
The decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
giving wisdom to the simple.
R. You have the words of everlasting life.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart.
The command of the LORD is clear,
enlightening the eye.
R. You have the words of everlasting life.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever;
The ordinances of the LORD are true,
all of them just.
R. You have the words of everlasting life.
They are more precious than gold,
than a heap of purest gold;
Sweeter also than syrup
or honey from the comb.
R. You have the words of everlasting life.

A reading from the book of the prophet Ezekiel           37: 1-14

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.

Responsorial           Ps 107 [106]: 2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9

(v. 1)Give thanks to the LORD for he is good, his mercy endures forever! Or: Alleluia!
Let that be the prayer of the LORD’s redeemed,
those redeemed from the hand of the foe,
Those gathered from foreign lands,
from east and west, from north and south.
Give thanks to the LORD for he is good, his mercy endures forever! Or: Alleluia!
Some had lost their way in a barren desert;
found no path toward a city to live in.
They were hungry and thirsty;
their life was ebbing away.
Give thanks to the LORD for he is good, his mercy endures forever! Or: Alleluia!
In their distress they cried to the LORD,
who rescued them in their peril,
Guided them by a direct path
so they reached a city to live in.
Give thanks to the LORD for he is good, his mercy endures forever! Or: Alleluia!
Let them thank the LORD for his mercy,
such wondrous deeds for the children of Adam.
For he satisfied the thirsty,
filled the hungry with good things.
Give thanks to the LORD for he is good, his mercy endures forever! Or: Alleluia!

A reading from the book of the prophet Joel           Joel 3: 1-5

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.

Responsorial           (104 [103]: 1-2a, 24, 35c, 27-28, 29bc-30

Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth. Or: Alleluia!
Bless the LORD, my soul!
LORD, my God, you are great indeed!
You are clothed with majesty and splendor,
robed in light as with a cloak.
Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth. Or: Alleluia!
How varied are your works, LORD!
In wisdom you have made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.
Bless the LORD, my soul! Hallelujah!
Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth. Or: Alleluia!
All of these look to you
to give them food in due time.
When you give it to them, they gather;
when you open your hand, they are well filled.
Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth. Or: Alleluia!
Take away their breath, they perish
and return to the dust.
Send forth your spirit, they are created
and you renew the face of the earth.
Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth. Or: Alleluia!

A reading from the Epistle of Paul to the Romans          8:22-27

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 first fruits 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.

Alleluia, alleluia.
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of the faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.
Alleluia, Alleluia.

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to John          7:37-39

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.

 

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