JOHN 15, 26-27; 16, 12-15
15, 26 When the Paraclete comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who issues from the Father, he will be my witness.
15, 27 And you too will be witnesses, because you have been with me from the beginning.
16, 12 I still have many things to say to you but they would be too much for you to bear now.
16, 13 However, when the Spirit of truth comes he will lead you to the complete truth, since he will not be speaking of his own accord, but will say only what he has been told; and he will reveal to you the things to come.
16, 14 He will glorify me, since all he reveals to you will be taken from what is mine.
16 15 Everything the Father has is mine; that is why I said: all he reveals to you will be taken from what is mine.
New Jerusalem Bible
PENTECOST ENDS 50 DAYS OF EASTER SEASON
The feast of Pentecost ends the Fifty Days of the Easter Season. As noted in The General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar : “The fifty days from Easter Sunday to Pentecost are celebrated in joyful exultation as one feast day, or better as one “great Sunday.”
Though succinct the short statement highlights the significant shift in the current Church’s understanding of the whole Season grounding it to the ancient practice originating from the third Christian century onwards. Prior to distinct and separate celebrations of Ascension and Pentecost the whole period from Easter Sunday to Pentecost proclaims the exalted Christ in his resurrection, ascension to the Father, and breathing his Holy Spirit upon the disciples.
POSTBAPTISMAL CATECHESIS DURING 50 DAYS
The significance of these Fifty Days as one unified whole in celebrating the Great Sunday of the exalted Christ is highlighted in other church documents, such as the revised Order of Christian Initiation of Adults.
The fourth and final “period of postbaptismal catechesis or mystagogy” is the “time for the community and the neophytes together to grow in deepening their grasp of the paschal mystery and in making it part of their lives through meditation on the Gospel, sharing in the eucharist, and doing the works of charity” [RCIA 234].
In the above terse verse we understand the “intiation” of those journeying in the Order of Adult Initiation to be essentially one of the “whole Christian life:”
- “meditation on the Gospel” — toward a disciple immersed in the Word – Creed of the Church as christian community,
- “sharing in the eucharist” — toward a disciple taking an active and conscious part in Worship – Cult, and
- “doing the works of charity” — toward a disciple continuing Christ’s mission in serving and healing, in Witness – Code.
The initiation of inquirers, catechumens, the elect, and neophytes are to be formed and trained through the “tasks of catechesis” as stated in the GDC 84, stipulating in the simplest of terms that the faith of the journeying disciple in the making “demands to be known, celebrated, lived and translated into prayer, in community for mission” [GDC 84ff].
The Sunday eucharists
The “distinctive spirit and power” of this period for the neophytes spring from the “new, personal experience of the sacraments and of the community” [RCIA 237]. The Sunday eucharists of the Easter Season or the “Masses for neophytes” so called constitute the “main setting” for such experiences. During these celebrations the neophytes gather with the Christian community to share not only these “mysteries” but also appropriate Lectionary readings chosen for the occasions, “especially the readings for Year A” [RCIA 237].
CATECHESIS ACCOMMODATED TO LECTIONARY GOSPEL
The 1969 edition of the Lectionary chooses John 20, 19-23 for all the three years. This reading characterizes the original meaning of Pentecost as an Easter celebration in its essence. The risen Christ – like the Creator God in Genesis breathing life into Adam – breathes the Holy Spirit to create of his disciples a new humanity and a new creation. The revised 1981 Lectionary assigns readings for Years B and C from the farewell discourse of John’s gospel, centering on the promise of Jesus to send the Paraclete on his disciples.
All the above emphases lead us to return to the earlier tradition in liturgy, where Pentecost is described by Normand Bonneau as the “extension of Easter unto perfection, or, in biblical terms, as the “perfection of perfections” — “a week of weeks,” that is, 7 x 7 days + l.”
SONGS TO CELEBRATE FEAST OF PENTECOST
What songs can we sing to celebrate this feast of Pentecost which brings the whole Easter Season to the complete circle of the one Great Sunday of Christ’s exalted life celebrated throughout these Great Fifty Days?
Normand Bonneau, The Sunday Lectionary: Ritual Word, Paschal Shape. Liturgical Press, 1998.
Come Holy Ghost, Creator Blest [1 G]
Text attributed to Rabanus Maurus [776-856]
Translator: Edward Caswall
Come Down, O Love Divine [1 G]
Author: Bianco da Siena
Translator: Richard F Littledale
Tune: DOWN AMPNEY
Presentation of Gifts
Spirit and Grace [1 2]
Holy Spirit, Come to Us [1 G]
Author: Taize Community 
Send Us Your Spirit [1 P G]
Send Us Your Spirit [1 P G]
Come Down, O Love Divine
1 Come down, O Love divine,
seek thou this soul of mine,
and visit it with thine own ardor glowing;
O Comforter, draw near,
within my heart appear,
and kindle it, thy holy flame bestowing.
2 O let it freely burn,
till earthly passions turn
to dust and ashes in its heat consuming;
and let thy glorious light
shine ever on my sight,
and clothe me round, the while my path illuming.
3 And so the yearning strong,
with which the soul will long,
shall far outpass the power of human telling;
for none can guess its grace,
till Love create a place
wherein the Holy Spirit makes a dwelling.
Source: United Methodist Hymnal, 1989
1 = 1st reading
P = Responsorial Psalm
2 = 2nd Reading
G = Gospel
With the shifts in the reformed liturgy, what do I need to change in
my understanding and praxis regarding
- Easter Season,
- the celebration of feast days,
- the significance of using lectionary readings — especially the gospel — in catechesis,
- the linkages and mutual help of liturgy and catechesis in ongoing growth of faith — for life and mission –Sunday by Sunday?