The Week After Pentecost
Some memorial and feast days are assigned to the week after Pentecost. “Mary, Mother of the Church” was instituted by Pope Francis as a memorial to Mary in 2018, to be celebrated on the Monday after Pentecost. The Decree states ‘This celebration will help us to remember that growth in the Christian life must be anchored to the Mystery of the Cross, to the oblation of Christ in the Eucharistic Banquet and to the Mother of the Redeemer and Mother of the Redeemed, the Virgin who makes her offering to God.’
This was appropriate since Luke 1 recorded the woman as present among the disciples who waited for the descent of the Spirit at Pentecost. The evangelist also implied she was numbered among those who received the power of God and filled with the evangelising Spirit. In Luke’s gospel, the Spirit filled Mary at the conception of the Christ. It also rushed upon her at Pentecost. In John’s Crucifixion scene, Jesus gave her to the disciple He loved, as “his Mother.” This disciple represented all of us for we are the Lord’s beloved. So, the Spirit-filled woman who gave birth to the Messiah, witnessed His death, cared for the beloved disciples and received the evangelising power of God is rightfully called “Mother of the Church.”
Wednesday’s feast day is the Visitation and gives us a clear picture of celebration. The young Mary visited the elderly Elizabeth. Both were with child. This was a good reason to celebrate because of the joy motherhood would bring. But there was a greater reason. God blessed these women and they were humbled by that blessing. It was not Mary who honoured the older Elizabeth and marvelled at the miracle of her pregnancy. No, it was older who honoured the younger and was in awe at the work of God in their midst.
The Thursday after Pentecost marks The Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Eternal High Priest. CBCEW notes “As Mediator between God and human beings, fulfilling His Father’s will, He sacrificed Himself once on the altar of the Cross as a saving Victim for the whole world. Thus, instituting the pattern of an everlasting sacrifice, with a brother’s kindness He chose, from among the children of Adam, men to augment the priesthood – so that from the sacrifice continually renewed in the Church streams of divine power might flow, whereby a new heaven and a new earth might be made and throughout the whole universe there would be perfected what no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor has entered into the human heart”.
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