20150523 Pentecost Vigil B

It seems appropriate that the first reading for the Vigil tells how different languages came about and the reading on Pentecost tells how everyone heard the Gospel message in their own language. The first reading tonight explains how all the people of the world spoke the same language. I wonder if they still had problems communicating like we do today – we all speak United States English and we have problems understanding each other.
Wouldn’t it be nice to speak a word and have it mean the same thing throughout the world? Everyone would know what you were talking about and understand you. Let’s put this reading in context. It is easy to condemn the people for building a tower to heaven. But this was after the flood so they wanted to make sure that the tower would be high enough that it would survive another flood.
Could you imagine what it was like the day that God confused their languages? All of a sudden, you don’t understand a thing that I am saying. You understood me five minutes ago so what is wrong with you now? So you begin searching for someone who can understand you. You go from person to person until you find someone, then the two of you search until you find another person who understands you, then the three of you search for another and on and on and on.
Then the groups of people who understand each other begin to form cities and nations. They spread out over the earth to have some space to themselves. And then the bickering and fighting really begin. This was the result of our sinfulness and arrogance that we could overcome God.
Tomorrow morning the picture is completely different. After the Holy Spirit descends on the Apostles, they speak in the native language of the people visiting Jerusalem.
Listen to the reading from Acts:
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 native language?
After a long list of nations, it continues: … 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.”
By the mighty acts of God through the Holy Spirit, all people were united again in one body, one spirit in Christ. Each could understand the Gospel message that Christ was crucified for our sins, died and was buried, then was resurrected from the dead to bring us new life. This was the beginning of the Church, not made with hands, of the believers that we are a part of today.
The second reading talks about Hope.
Hope is something that some people yearn for every day. That is because without God, there is no hope. And most of the world does not know God. Hope only exists if we are looking for something unseen. In hope we were saved. That was an unseen act. And now with hope we look forward to eternal life. Even the Spirit prays for us and intercedes for us in our weakness that we will always serve God and follow his ways. This gives us the hope of eternal life in a glorified body with God in heaven.
Jesus said that all who thirst should come and drink. The Holy Spirit would flow out of each person who believes in him. This is how the Gospel is spread throughout the world to all people who become one body in Christ. The hope that we have is spread to a world that does not have hope, to a world that is lost and looking for more to life.
Will we say yes to Jesus and let the Holy Spirit dwell in us? Or will we be like the people of Babel who couldn’t understand one another? Will we let the Holy Spirit flow through us to bring hope to a confused and troubled world filled with bickering and fighting?
Come Holy Spirit; make me an instrument of your peace.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Homilies

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.