I know it’s not 9 days of a novena, but the gospel readings and other prayers for the 7th week of Easter prepare us for the feast of Pentecost very well. From Monday to Thursday they bring us to the Supper Room where Jesus spoke to his disciples. We can hear his promises to them made to us too.
Friday and Saturday they take us to the Sea of Galilee where Jesus, after his resurrection, forgave Peter for his denial and called him to “feed my sheep.” All the disciples shared Peter’s forgiveness and call. Now, we do too.
Monday the disciples say confidently, “Now you are talking plainly, and not in any figure of speech. Now we realize that you know everything and that you do not need to have anyone question you. Because of this we believe that you came from God.”
Now they know the full plan of God, now they see without “figures of speech.” “Do you believe now?” Jesus says, “Behold, the hour is coming and has arrived when each of you will be scattered to his own home and you will leave me alone.”
They don’t see or know, and we are like them. They needed the Holy Spirit to come. We have that same need. “Come, Holy Spirit, teach us the ways of God and be our Guide.”
In the Supper Room, Jesus promised his disciples peace in a troubled world and told them “take courage, I have conquered the world. “ (John 16:29-32) “Lord, you promise us too.”
Jesus prayed for this apostles in the Supper Room, the readings for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday tell us. He prays for us too. He will always pray for his own who are in the world, and we are his own. Prayer is one of the ways we hear his voice and know his promises. “Lord, teach us to pray.” ( John 17:1-19)
Friday and Saturday, we join the disciples at the Sea of Galilee where they went fishing, yet caught nothing. It was after they had scattered in the hour of his Passion and saw him risen from the dead, but now they had gone home, wondering, cautiously wondering, what was yet to come.
“Do you love me, Simon, son of John,” Jesus said to Peter. “Yes, Lord, you know I love you,” Peter answered. “Feed my lambs, tend my sheep,” Jesus said. (John 21: 1-19)
Jesus gave him forgiveness and called him to follow him. The others received the same gracious gift. We do too. He gave them the Holy Spirit, to renew them and renew the face of the earth.
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and renew the face of the earth.
A devotional church before Vatican II depended on novenas, tridua and other prayers to celebrate the great church feasts. The renewed liturgy of Vatican 11 provides a richer preparation for the feast in the days that precede and follow them. It’s our novena for Pentecost.