Introduction to Pentecost
Pentecost is still Easter - and more than ever. It is Easter at its last summit. For on the last day of the great feast splendidly explodes what had been accomplished in the divine silence of the morning of the Resurrection.
The “I will come to you” begins almost discreetly with the paschal apparitions in the morning mist enveloping the garden of the sepulcher’s place, in the secret of the upper room, at dusk in Emmaus, on the lonely shore of the lake. “I will come” is now realized in the whirlwind and the fire.
Your heart will rejoice. This joy begun at Easter- still timidly, they dared not believe it, they hid themselves in their houses - behold this joy fuses into an enthusiasm such as it was believed that the disciples were taken from wine (Acts 2:13).
In a short time the world will no longer see me but you will see that I live and you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father and you in me and I in you. (Jn 14, 19-20). This slow experience will become an unshakeable faith. The apostles will be literally “inhabited,” the community itself and no longer the temple of Jerusalem will be the place of the divine presence. This faith, this experience, this presence, they will communicate them at the four corners of the world.
After the Paschal birth, here is the spiritual maturity. What is born in the waters of baptism on the night of Easter is going to be confirmed and confirmed in the fire.
It is always Easter, it is the Paschal fulfillment. And the morning sun of the Resurrection now shines at noon.
Conversely, Easter was already a feast of the Spirit. The Spirit of Jesus had already come and the missionary mission was already ordained on the evening of the first day (Jn 20, 19-22).
But how can we express ourselves: Jesus himself, the Paschal Jesus is a Christ in the Holy Spirit. The Spirit has transformed the mortal body of Christ into a glorified, resurrected body (Rom. 8:11; 1 Cor 15:45), Jesus is filled with the Spirit of the Father.
Do not imagine the Spirit in the manner of a third person whose exact role we can not know, but imagine Him as the fire present in red-hot iron. One can not take a red-hot iron without also taking its fire. In the same way one can not comprehend Christ without also having His Spirit and vice versa. It is therefore to misunderstand Christ to ignore that He is of fire, that He is of the Spirit. And how strange it is, when they are inseparable, to seek Christ by ignoring His Spirit!
Easter and Pentecost are not, strictly speaking, two different feasts, they celebrate the Risen Lord transformed by the Spirit and the Spirit sent by the Risen One. Not two stages in the manner of a train that joins places where it was not yet, it would rather speak of ripening: everything is already in the paschal bud, but the bud has swollen, now it bursts.
Fifty days for one great Paschal feast dominated by the Spirit, a spreading feast of which today is the last day!
But one last day, which is also a summit: “God, you perform the Paschal mystery in the event of Pentecost” (prayer, Mass of the previous evening). And the Church, coming out of Christ on the cross like a child from her mother’s womb, here she is standing in her mature youth, already standing on the threshold to proclaim to the world the wonders she has witnessed.
This interweaving of Easter and Pentecost will help us not to dissociate Christ and His Spirit. As if Christ was the God of Easter and the Spirit of Pentecost! One God manifests Himself in diversified, eminently personalized ways. Christ sends me His Spirit and the Spirit puts me in communion with Christ Jesus.
Saint John condenses the Paschal Mystery into one episode. He has a tighter overall picture. For him everything is already accomplished on the Cross (John 19:30). John sees the Resurrection already realized with the death of Jesus; With one of those puns of which he has the secret, he says that the Son of Man must be exalted; This word, which makes one think of the elevation on the Cross, also signifies the elevation in glory, since then He will attract all things to Him (Jn 12:32). Another genius in the double sense: Jesus on the cross renders the spirit back (Jn 19,30.34): He gives His spirit to the Father, He gives the Spirit to the world.
Here Cross, Resurrection and Pentecost are seen as one act: for our “education”, Saint Luke - and the liturgy with him - spread it out in time.
Pentecost - from the Greek: pentecostè, fifty - the fiftieth day after Easter, was among the Jews, with Easter and the Feast of Tents, one of the three great feasts of pilgrimage. A feast of wheat harvesting, later commemoration of the Sinai Alliance. Certain elements of the Jewish feast were retained by the liturgy; Thus the theme of the Alliance at the Mass on Saturday evening (2nd reading). But while Easter and Pentecost had no direct relation to Jewish worship, the Christian liturgy united them.
During the first centuries, the day of Pentecost was never regarded as a separate feast, but as the last day of the great feast of Easter. Gradually, however, Pentecost detached itself from the Pascal cycle, and finally, rather late, constituted a particular cycle of eight days, in imitation of the octave of Easter, of which it had taken certain features.
The conciliar reform fortunately restored the old order. The link with Easter is particularly visible in the Gospel of the day, which reports an apparition on Easter Sunday.
Some deplore the suppression of the octave, fearing that the devotion to the Holy Spirit will lose its already weak importance. It is forgetting that all the Paschal time is the high point of the Spirit.
Like the apostles gathered in the upper room, here we are gathered, waiting for the Spirit of Jesus. The moment is particularly solemn. We are Church as never before, and the Spirit wants us to become even more so. The Spirit wants to “confirm” us, strengthen us, unite us before sending us to the borders. This is the maximum concentration before the grand burst.
We feel today, more than ever, the one and holy Church, united and sanctified by the Spirit. Catholic: universal, composed of humans from all the nations under the sky. Apostolic: founded on the rock of the apostles and, like them, sent to the four corners of the world (first reading).
Now comes, during this Eucharist, the Spirit that Jesus promised at the Last Supper, and then communicated to the apostles as early as Easter (Gospel). It is in the Eucharist that we receive, with the most realism and intensity, the “spiritual Christ”: when we are nourished with His body and His blood and filled with the Holy Spirit (Eucharistic prayer III) .
Having received it, let us live and develop in us the fruit of the Spirit that Paul details in the second reading (“On the other hand the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control; no law can touch such things as these.” Gal 5:22-23)
Come, Holy Spirit Fill the hearts of your faithful (Sequence).
One of those rich and dense liturgies that we must truly “celebrate”, live intensely, and even in the red fire of liturgical colors, the profusion of lights, the language of flowers, the variations of singing: sometimes grave, mystical, then impetuously joyous, and above all in the warm participation of each one.
Pour aller plus loin