Saturday, June 08, 2019

Inspiration for a Pentecost Vigil homily

Our parish is having a twelve hour Pentecost Vigil in the village of Oromilaca, starting at about 6 pm tonight. I was going to try to get there early – but a major thunderstorm has come in and I’ll try to wait it out for another half hour.

Thursday morning, my pastor asked me to preach at the Vigil. I tentatively agreed. I have my notes ready but it’s not written out. I’ll have time to prepare a bit more since Mass won’t begin until about 2;00 am.

We are using all the Vigil readings, plus the account from the Acts of the Apostles of the descent of the Holy Spirit and the Pentecost Sequence, Veni, Sancte Spiritus.

Pope Francis’ exhortation Christus Vivit, his response to the synod on youth, inspired me. He calls, very clearly, for a rejuvenation of the Church, as he wrote in paragraph 37.

Christ’s Church can always yield to the temptation to lose enthusiasm because she no longer hears the Lord calling her to take the risk of faith, to give her all without counting the dangers; she can be tempted to revert to seeking a false, worldly form of security. Young people can help keep her young. They can stop her from becoming corrupt; they can keep her moving forward, prevent her from being proud and sectarian, help her to be poorer and to bear better witness, to take the side of the poor and the outcast, to fight for justice and humbly to let herself be challenged. Young people can offer the Church the beauty of youth by renewing her ability to “rejoice with new beginnings, to give unreservedly of herself, to be renewed and to set out for ever greater accomplishments.”

He pointedly cites the prophet Joel, which we will hear tonight, and remarks in paragraph 192:

The prophecy of Joel contains a verse that expresses this nicely: “I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams” (3:1; cf. Acts 2:17). When young and old alike are open to the Holy Spirit, they make a wonderful combination. The old dream dreams, and the young see visions. How do the two complement one another?

This is a message we need to hear in Honduras – where the old systems of power, domination, violence, and poverty reign. We need to hear the dreams of the old people who have struggled for justice for decades and the visions that many young people have for a country that treasures its young, it poor, its old – and lets them lead toward a world that we pray for in the sequence:

Come, Holy Spirit, come!
And from your celestial home
Shed a ray of light divine!
Come, Father of the poor!...
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….
Give [your faithful] joys that never end.

This is not the homily I’ll preach – but these words have been my inspiration.

As I finished this post, the rain let up and so I'm off to the Vigil in a few minutes.

Pentecost Vigil Readings 
for the Dulce Nombre de María Parish

Genesis 11: 1-9
Exodus 19: 3-8, 16-20
Ezekiel 37: 1-14
Joel 3: 1-5
Acts of the Apostles 2: 1-11
Romans 8: 22-27
John 7: 37-39
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