Saturday, June 08, 2019




Vigil – Gn 11: 1 – 9 / Rom 8: 22–27 / Jn 7: 37 – 39

Day – Acts 2: 1 – 11 / 1 Cor 12: 3b – 7, 12 – 13 /
Sequence Veni Sancte Spiritus / Jn 20: 19 – 23

1ST READING (VIGIL): Gn 11: 1 – 9
The whole world had one language and a common speech.. As people moved from east, they found a plain in the country of Shinar where they settled. They said to one another, "Come, let us make bricks and bake them in fire." . . They also said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top reaching heaven; so that we may become a great people and not be scattered over the face of the earth."

Yahweh came down to see the city and the tower that the sons of man were building, and Yahweh said, "They are one people and they have one language. If they carry this through, nothing they decide to do from now on will be impossible. Come! Let us go down and confuse their language so that they will no longer understand each other." So Yahweh scattered them all over the earth and they stopped building the city. That is why it is called Babel, because there Yahweh confused the language of the whole earth and from there Yahweh scattered them over the whole face of the earth.

1ST READING (DAY): Acts 2: 1 – 11
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. And suddenly out of the sky came a sound like a strong rushing wind and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. There appeared tongues as if of fire which parted and came to rest upon each of them. All were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak other languages, as the Spirit enabled them to speak.

Staying in Jerusalem were religious Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd gathered, all excited because each heard them speaking in his own language. Full of amazement and wonder, they asked, "Are  not all these who are speaking Galileans? How     is it that we hear them in our own native language? Here are Parthians, Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and foreigners who accept Jewish beliefs, Cretians and Arabians; and all of us hear them proclaiming in our own language what God, the Savior, does.

Again Jesus said to them, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you. After saying this he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit; for those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain, they are retained."

The Tower of Babel story begins with unity (same language, same words) and ends with disunity (confusion of speech, scattering all over the earth). The people built "a city and tower with its top in the sky," a figurative way to describe human folly, wanting to be more than what humans can really do. This action results in confusion of language and dispersion of people.

The story of Pentecost in Acts 2: 1 – 11 reverses what the people in the Babel story had done, it begins with people coming from every nation under heaven and speaking different languages. It ends with people filled with the Spirit still speaking in different tongues, yet united and able to hear different languages yet unmistakably understand the mighty acts of God.

What brings disunity in Babel, human folly and pride, is undone by human frailty and humility. Jesus' acceptance of human weakness and humility at the cross bears fruit in the believers' unity at Pentecost. As one commentator loves to say, "The way to the top is really to go to the bottom."

What could these stories teach us as a nation? As a church? What could they teach us as individuals? Are we ready to go to the bottom as our habitual way of life? And hopefully to end up at the top?


Have a good day!

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