Dies Domini 28: The Gift of the Spirit

An extension of yesterday’s Gospel would bring us to the Johannine “Pentecost” on Easter evening. Let’s not get into the tussle of which account is more “historical.” (Why couldn’t both be considered true, in the truest sense?) John Paul II cites Sunday as “The day of the gift of the Spirit.” Let’s go from there:

28. Sunday, the day of light, could also be called the day of “fire”, in reference to the Holy Spirit. The light of Christ is intimately linked to the “fire” of the Spirit, and the two images together reveal the meaning of the Christian Sunday.(Cf. Clement of Alexandria, Stromata, VI, 138, 1-2: PG 9, 364) When he appeared to the Apostles on the evening of Easter, Jesus breathed upon them and said: “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained” (Jn 20:22-23). The outpouring of the Spirit was the great gift of the Risen Lord to his disciples on Easter Sunday.

Luke is referenced, too. Another Sunday:

It was again Sunday when, fifty days after the Resurrection, the Spirit descended in power, as “a mighty wind” and “fire” (Acts 2:2-3), upon the Apostles gathered with Mary. Pentecost is not only the founding event of the Church, but is also the mystery which for ever gives life to the Church.(Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Dominum et Vivificantem (18 May 1986), 22-26: AAS78 (1986), 829-837) Such an event has its own powerful liturgical moment in the annual celebration which concludes “the great Sunday”,(Cf. Saint Athanasius of Alexandria, Sunday Letters 1, 10: PG 26, 1366) but it also remains a part of the deep meaning of every Sunday, because of its intimate bond with the Paschal Mystery. The “weekly Easter” thus becomes, in a sense, the “weekly Pentecost”, when Christians relive the Apostles’ joyful encounter with the Risen Lord and receive the life-giving breath of his Spirit.

Joy: do we associate that quality closely with Sunday and with liturgy? Perhaps too much “sobriety” or “solemnity” in recent years, though that may loosen up.

The Vatican site has Dies Domini in its entirety.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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