The Holy See
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Sunday, 2 April 1989


Easter can be considered the first Pentecost

1. On this Second Sunday of Easter throughout the entire Church the words which the Risen Christ addressed to the apostles on the night of his resurrection resound, words which are both a gift and a promise: "Receive the Holy Spirit" (Jn 20:23).

We are now immersed in that joyous atmosphere of the Easter season, that new period of grace which, in the liturgical cycle, joins the mystery of the Resurrection with that of Pentecost.

2. The Resurrection completely fulfilled the Redeemer's saving plan, the limitless outpouring of divine love upon humanity. It is now up to the Spirit to involve individuals in chat plan of love. Therefore there is a close connection between Christ's mission and the Gift of the Holy Spirit promised to the apostles shortly before the Passion, as a fruit of the sacrifice of the Cross: ''I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth..; he will teach you every thing and remind you of all that I told you" (Jn 14:16, 17, 26). Significantly, on the cross the dying Christ "handed over the spirit" as the first fruit of redemption (cf. Jn 19:30).

In a certain sense, therefore, Easter can. be considered the fiat Pentecost "Receive the Holy Spirit"- in expectation of his solemn and public outpouring upon the primitive community gathered in the Upper Room fifty days later.

3."The spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead" (Rom 8: 11) must dwell in us and lead us to a life which is more and more conformed to that of the risen Christ. The entire mystery of salvation is an event of trinitarian love, of the love that flows between the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit. Easter introduces us into this love through the communication of the Holy Spirit, "the Lord, the giver of life" (Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed).

Therefore, in our Sunday appointment for the recitation of the Easter Marian prayer, the "Regina Caeli", we shalf meditate on the gifts of the Holy Spirit, we shall invoke the intercession of the Virgin Mary, that we may be granted to understand fully these gifts, recalling in faith that upon her the Holy Spirit first descended, and the power of the Most High overshadowed her (cf. Lk 1:35); we shall also recall that Mary herself participated in that assiduous prayer of the Church that was coming into being awaiting Pentecost.