17 May 2018

'As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ Sunday Reflections, Pentecost, Year B

Pentecost, Sir Anthony van Dyck [Web Gallery of Art]

Vigil Mass

Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)

Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)

Mass during the Day

Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)

Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)

Gospel John 20:19-23 (New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition)

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’
John 15:26-27; 16:12-15 may also be used.

Mysteries of Faith, Guido Reni [Web Gallery of Art]

Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you . . . Receive the Holy Spirit.

Today's feast of Pentecost is a celebration of our being given a mission by Jesus himself: so I send you. This mission is lived mainly in our daily life, in our family, in our workplace and in the way we become involved in the life of the wider community. Gaudium et Spes, one of the major documents of the Second Vatican Council, devotes much space to the latter. In No 75 of that document it states: All citizens, therefore, should be mindful of the right and also the duty to use their free vote to further the common good

We in the Republic of Ireland will be voting on Friday 25 May in what is perhaps the most important issue to face the people since independence in 1922. We are being asked to delete the current wording of Article 40.3.3, known as 'The Eighth Amendment' from the Constitution because it was inserted as such in a referendum in 1993, and to replace it with different wording. 

The current article readsThe State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right. This subsection shall not limit freedom to travel between the State and another state. This subsection shall not limit freedom to obtain or make available, in the State, subject to such conditions as may be laid down by law, information relating to services lawfully available in another state.

The proposed replacement readsProvision may be made by law for the regulation of termination of pregnancy.

If a majority votes 'Yes' for this change the government proposes to legalise abortion for any reason up to 12 weeks of pregnancy. After 12 weeks the proposed legislation would allow for abortion in certain circumstances.

Nos 27 of Gaudium et Spes, promulgated in 1965, speaks very specifically 53 years later to what faces Irish voters this week: 

27 . . . Furthermore, whatever is opposed to life itself, such as any type of murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia or wilful self-destruction, whatever violates the integrity of the human person . . . all these things and others of their like are infamies indeed. They poison human society, but they do more harm to those who practice them than those who suffer from the injury. Moreover, they are supreme dishonor to the Creator.

Pope Francis in his encyclical on Care for Our Common Home, Laudato Si’ , says in No 12o: Since everything is interrelated, concern for the protection of nature is also incompatible with the justification of abortion. How can we genuinely teach the importance of concern for other vulnerable beings, however troublesome or inconvenient they may be, if we fail to protect a human embryo, even when its presence is uncomfortable and creates difficulties? 'If personal and social sensitivity towards the acceptance of the new life is lost, then other forms of acceptance that are valuable for society also wither away'.

Jesus says to us in John 10:10, I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

Please pray that we in Ireland will affirm life, not only by our vote but by everything we do to protect and nourish life, particularly for those in difficult situations. The Holy Spirit is speaking to us this Pentecost in a very specific situation of life and death and is asking us in Ireland, with the help of the prayers of people throughout the world, to proclaim the God of life through our vote. 

Veni Sanctus Spiritus
(Sequence for Mass on Pentecost Sunday)

Veni, Sancte Spiritus,
et emitte caelitus
lucis tuae radium.

Come, Holy Spirit,
send forth the heavenly
radiance of your light.

Veni, pater pauperum,
veni, dator munerum
veni, lumen cordium.

Come, father of the poor,
come giver of gifts,
come, light of the heart

Consolator optime,
dulcis hospes animae,
dulce refrigerium.

Greatest comforter,
sweet guest of the soul,
sweet consolation.

In labore requies,
in aestu temperies
in fletu solatium.

In labor, rest,
in heat, temperance,
in tears, solace.

O lux beatissima,
reple cordis intima
tuorum fidelium.

O most blessed light,
fill the inmost heart
of your faithful.

Sine tuo numine,
nihil est in homine,
nihil est innoxium.

Without your grace,
there is nothing in us,
nothing that is not harmful.

Lava quod est sordidum,
riga quod est aridum,
sana quod est saucium.

Cleanse that which is unclean,
water that which is dry,
heal that which is wounded.

Flecte quod est rigidum,
fove quod est frigidum,
rege quod est devium.

Bend that which is inflexible,
fire that which is chilled,
correct what goes astray.

a tuis fidelibus,
in te confidentibus,
sacrum septenarium.

Give to your faithful,
those who trust in you,
the sevenfold gifts.

Da virtutis meritum,
da salutis exitum,
da perenne gaudium,

Grant the reward of virtue,
grant the deliverence of salvation,
grant eternal joy.

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