For forty days we have been celebrating with joyful hearts the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, his bursting from the tomb and his defeat of the power of sin and death. He appeared to his disciples many times and told them about the kingdom of God.
On Ascension Day and during the ten days until Pentecost we recall how he left this earth and returned to his Father, ascending into heaven to take his throne over all dominions and powers. Trusting in his reign over all creation, and submitting to his kingly yet loving rule, let us hear the story of his parting. We also take time in prayer, praying through the season: Thy Kingdom Come.
Pentecost (from the Greek pentekoste, ‘fiftieth’ of fifty days of celebration) has its roots in the Jewish Feast of Weeks, which was completed on the fiftieth day after Passover. On the fiftieth day of Easter, God sends his Holy Spirit to empower the Church to perform the mission which the risen Christ has entrusted to it; and he inaugurates the messianic community of perfect communication. Pentecost celebrates both the Holy Spirit and the Christian Church. Ascension and Pentecost are closely linked. The risen Lord is no longer present to the Church in the body of his flesh; the Church is now to be the new body of Christ, filled with his life through the gift of the Spirit.
The Sunday after Pentecost came to be kept in the West as Trinity Sunday. In a sense, every feast must be a festival of the Trinity, because the whole Trinity is at work in every moment of creation, redemption and sanctification; but Trinity Sunday provides a particular occasion to reflect on the revelation of God’s self as Trinity, immediately after the Great Fifty Days of Easter.