Journeying from hope to clear vision

By | May 23, 2012

Today is Pentecost — the 50th and concluding day of our Easter celebration. As you enter the church this weekend, you will notice differences and similarities with the other days of Easter. There are still flowers and blooming plants, the Easter candle is burning and visible in the sanctuary, and the Gloria will be sung and the Creed recited. Instead of the penitential act, we will be sprinkled with the water which recalls our baptism. And for the last time this year, we will be sent forth with alleluias and respond, “Thanks be to God, alleluia, alleluia.”

Among the differences will be the predominance of the color red (rather than white) in the vesture of the priest and the environment in church. Red vestments are used for Masses in honor of the Holy Spirit, signifying the power and presence of the Spirit who came to the early church “as tongues of fire.” Also, there are a variety of options for the readings for Mass and the addition of a sequence.

If you attend Mass on Saturday afternoon, the readings are for the vigil Mass. The first reading recalls either the story of the confusion of languages with the tower of Babel or the Exodus story of God’s gift of the law on Mt. Sinai. The second reading is from St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans, reminding us that the Spirit comes to help us and enables us to pray. In John’s Gospel, Jesus describes the rivers of living water that will flow from him, signifying the gift of the Spirit.

If you attend Mass on Sunday, the first reading from Acts recounts the Pentecost event and the Spirit’s presence like a driving wind, tongues of fire, with a special gift of speech. The First Letter to the Corinthians recalls that we cannot say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit. The alternate reading is from St. Paul’s Letter to the Galatians describing fruits of the Spirit. The Gospel account is from Jesus’ discourse at the Last Supper where he promises to send the Spirit as advocate and guide.

After the second reading on Sunday morning we will sing or hear the sequence, “Come, Holy Spirit, come! And for your celestial home, shed a ray of light divine.” (There are 10 stanzas to the hymn).

There is also a special blessing for this feast, asking the Spirit to enlighten our minds, gift us as the disciples were gifted, and grant us faith, that we might journey from hope to clear vision.

At the end of the celebration, the paschal candle is extinguished and kept in the baptistery or near the baptismal font so it can be lit whenever the sacrament of baptism is celebrated. In the rite of baptism, the parents or godparents receive the candle lit from the paschal candle, signifying the light of Christ now living within their child.

And so for one last time this year, Happy Easter!

Sr. Rehrauer is the diocesan director of Evangelization, Living Justice and Worship.


Related Posts

Scroll to Top