May 22, 2021

Vigil of Pentecost

The Tower of Babel

Genesis 11:1-9

Tonight sees us making the necessary preparations in anticipation of the great day of Pentecost. Taken from the selection of readings, Genesis provides us with great insight into what happens when we try to design and build, shape and form our own lives (cf. CCC 57).

We commonly call this story the one about the Tower of Babel. In fact, the tower is only one component of a much bigger picture. It has to do with the building of a city, within which a tower would be designed. Its height would attempt to scrape the sky - a "skyscraper". What can we learn from this?

When we take into our own hands the power to build ourselves up - to in a way steal the power of the heavens, we will never be able to complete the project, no matter how hard we try. What Adam and Eve attempted to do for themselves, the citizens of Babel, their future offspring attempted to do for the sake of the whole of humanity - that's what we are tempted to go - to capture God, put Him in a bottle and manipulate His will, for the sake of our own glory, not His.

When we try to build ourselves up, God ultimately intervenes and topples our fortress. That's what happens to our little sand castle when the unstoppable tide comes in. God does so for our own protection as the consequences of leaving us to our own designs ultimately leads to greed and an obsession with power and control. Without the Breath of God directing our lives like wind our sails, we would become like animals, pirates, mercenaries, fighting over not just the territories of this world, but even the territory of heaven itself.

The event of Babel reminds us that even with the progress of science and technology rolling back the frontiers of what we thought in the past was impossible to do, there are boundaries. Often our soul's thirst to touch the heavens is confused with our own sense of inadequacy before the universe. Hence, out of fear, the temptation to grab and make ourselves bigger, stronger, faster. But so that we might not die from this virus of sin that we have all inherited from Adam and Eve’s DNA, God comes to our rescue in Christ, 

He calls out and says, "Let anyone who thirsts come to me and drink”, John 7:37-39. We are all thirsty. Too often we fix our own drinks, measure out what we think is good for us. Instead, allow Christ to pour His Spirit into you and have faith that He knows what measure we need at any given time. And at times, our glass like our souls has to be first emptied, cleaned and dried, so that the fullness of God’s Spirit can be poured into a worthy vessel that can unlock all the graces needed to live authentic and credible Christian lives.  

 “Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of the faithful.”

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